Friday, June 13, 2008

South African miners union sets August 6 strike date

South Africa's biggest miners union said on Wednesday it's members would put down their tools on August 6 in a national strike. South Africa is the world's largest source of platinum and a major gold producer this strike could halt production of gold and platinum. The COSATU labour federation has threatened to strike to protest job losses linked to the country's power crisis, the soaring prices of food, fuel and interest rates. The 320,000-strong National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the biggest affiliate of COSATU among other trade unions, has vowed to support the strike, in what may be a major showdown between unions and the authorities over the state of the economy. "We want to send a very strong message that the poor are part of this society which puts electricity, food and everything beyond their reach," Frans Baleni, NUM's General Secretary said. "Fuel costs have skyrocketed making it difficult for workers to move from the gold mines to see their families," he said. Recent rate hikes have also made life unbearable for workers, "driving thousands into shack life as they can no longer afford their houses while the price of basic food is unaffordable sending millions into starvation," Baleni said. The impending shutdown could effect major gold producers including AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields and Harmony. The gold miners may incur losses that would be difficult to make up, while metal prices may jump on supply fears, analysts said.Do you need cash fast? We will pay you more than anyone else for your gold. Send for your Free refiners kit today and we will send you the highest price for your unwanted gold.

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