South African miners reject new pay offer
South Africa’s gold miners have rejected a new pay offer secured by their unions and aimed at ending months of industrial unrest that has curbed production of the precious metal.
“We gave the offer to the striking mine workers and they said ‘no’,” Kenneth Buda, coordinator of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) at one of the leading mines, Gold Fields told AFP on Thursday.
Gold mine owners and unions representing the picketing workers said on Wednesday they had reached a tacit deal expected to put an end to the work stoppage, but the workers spurned the offer as not up to their demand of 12,500 rand ($1,430) per month.
“We are still trying to speak to them and also further engage the employers, may be they can put something further on top,” Buda added.
A fresh round of talks is planned for early next week, according to the union leader and the South African Chamber of Mines.
Meantime there will be fresh bids to convince the thousands of workers to take up the offer.
“We have decided that all parties, including management, need to go back to the members, the employees, and properly convey the … proposal,” Chamber of Mines negotiator for the gold sector Elize Strydom told AFP.
“It is exactly the same proposal that was tabled on Tuesday and it will now be communicated, not only by the union but also by management.”
Months of often violent strikes have strangled gold production in South Africa, which accounts for around seven percent of global output.