South African strikes to spread to gold sector

JOHANNESBURG - South African gold miners will be the latest to join nationwide industrial action this week when they join thousands of workers already on strike and threaten supply of the precious metal at a time when gold is at record highs.
The powerful National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) wants a 14 percent increases in wages from gold employers -- including AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields and Harmony, which have offered rises between 7 and 9 percent.
"We are disappointed by the decision taken by the unions. The offers made by employers today were a big jump from where we were the last time and were made as an indication of commitment by employers to reach a resolution with the unions," Elize Strydom, the chamber of mines' negotiator for the gold sector, said in a statement issued late on Monday.
Hundreds of thousands of workers across the country have downed tools in recent weeks, or are threatening to do so, seeking raises double or triple the 5 percent inflation rate in the mid-year bargaining session known as "strike season".
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