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South Africa: Miners win higher pay and right to go on strike

SOUTH African miners celebrated yesterday after winning their demands for higher pay and the right to strike, a few days after staging a mass walkout from electricity provider Eskom.

The National Union of Mineworkers’ (NUM) 15,000 members at the firm walked out on Wednesday over wages and to defend its right to strike against long-standing legislation banning walkouts in essential services.

The union signed a two-year wage agreement with management in the small hours of yesterday morning.

That included an 8.5 per cent rise for all pay grades except the lowest, who will get 10 per cent, and an increase in housing allowance from 2,600 rand (£149) to 3,000 rand (£170) over two years.

NUM Eskom chief negotiator Helen Diatile said the union was happy that “Eskom has acknowledged that the apartheid wage (gap) that exists within the company will be eliminated with specific timelines.”

Female workers will also benefit from five months’ paid maternity leave, while employee death payouts will total 20,000 rand (£1,150) for spouses and 15,000 rand (£850) for children under 21.


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