South African Miners may begin their strike action soon
Staying in South Africa, where the country faced a strike wave across leading sectors of the economy on Thursday and the labour unrest threatened to hit its struggling gold industry, already squeezed by rising costs and falling gold prices. Despite pleas from President Jacob Zuma and other government leaders for peaceful wage negotiations in Africa's largest economy, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said its members in the construction sector would down tools from Monday.
The NUM was also consulting its membership on a strike in the gold industry, which could start next week following an impasse in salary talks with mining companies. Analysts say that although South Africa has fallen in the world ranking of gold producers, gold remains its main mineral export and the industrial action, including an auto industry strike already under way, will inflict more damage on the economy. Violent wildcat walkouts in the mining industry last year cost billions of dollars in lost output and dented economic growth. More than 50 people died in protests at the mines.