August 30, 2010

Mineworkers ready to join public-sector strike in South Africa By: Loni Prinsloo in: mining weekly,27th August 2010



http://miningweekly.com/print-version/south-african-mineworkers-ready-to-join-public-sector-strike-2010-08-27

JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – South Africa's National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said on Friday that it fully supported the public sector strike and would engage in a sympathy strike if negotiations were not resolved by next week Thursday.

"We will ensure that every mining operation, every construction site and every energy worker joins the public-sector strike in some form.

"The union calls on its members to listen to their branch leadership and be ready for action," said the NUM general secretary Frans Baleni.

Some 1,3-million unionised public sector workers downed tools last Wednesday, crippling the country's health and education services.

Workers are demanding an 8,6% wage increase and a monthly housing allowance of R1 000, while the government says that it can only afford a 7% wage hike and a R700 a month housing subsidy.

The strike is costing South Africa's economy an estimated R1-billion a day.

The NUM said that it was "shocked" by the manner in which the State decided to deal with the strike. "The mineworkers are angry that when their servants, the public sector workers ask for mere pittance, they are met with resistance and threatened with dismissals by those in power."

The NUM appealed to the State to stop its "attitude" and agree to workers demands.

Further, the NUM said that it was worrisome that while it was concerned about the welfare and impact of the strike on the country's citizens, "others" were more concerned about the effect that the strike would have on elections.

Some speculate that the public sector strike has resulted in a rift in the tripartheid alliance.

The NUM also said that the country's Ministers should stop abusing State funds by spending it on "useless" electronic and print media propaganda.

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