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South African gold mining companies brace for strike

Aug. 30, 2013 at 11:58 AM

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Aug. 30 (UPI) -- Unions representing South African goldminers has given employers a 48-hour notice of a strike, mining companies said Friday.

The Chamber of Mines said the walkout by 120,000 miners is expected to begin Tuesday, Miningweekly.com reported. The National Union of Miners said about 70 percent of gold mine employees will strike.

Because miners have an average of more than 10 dependents, experts estimate the strike will affect 1.4 million people and cost the South Africa's economy 549 million rand ($54 million) a day in lost revenue to the mining companies, money not spent on supplies and unused electricity.

The major issue is wages. The National Union of Miners had asked for wage increases of as much as 60 percent while employers said they would not provide increases greater than inflation.

Employers also refused to negotiate with individual unions.

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