Johannesburg - SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) workers
has filed notice to embark on a national strike, a spokesperson said on Monday,
a sign that crippling labour unrest is widening into the public sector.
“The union is mobilising towards a national protest, which
would begin as soon as this week,” Tahir Sema, a spokesperson for the Samwu
The action, which could lead to a one-day protest or an
indefinite strike, would call for medium and lower-income workers to receive
market-related salaries and for pay parity among workers across South Africa’s
provinces, Sema said.
Close to 100 000 workers, including 75 000 in the mining
sector alone, have taken to the streets in recent weeks in often violent
protests, demanding higher wages and better income equality.
The wildcat strikes have shut down great parts of the mining
industry in the world’s top producer of platinum and a major supplier of gold,
pushing prices of precious metals higher.
Samwu has more than 190 000 members country-wide and a
majority was expected to participate, Sema said.
Workers were calling for medium and lower-income workers to
receive market-related salaries and for greater pay parity among workers across
the provinces, he added.
The strikes pushed the rand to a fresh three-and-a-half year
low on Monday and prompted Moody’s last month to cut South Africa’s government
bond rating, citing the government’s difficulty in keeping up with economic
challenges and widening strikes.
Anglo Platinum [JSE:AMS] fired 12 000 wildcat strikers on
Friday, a high-stakes attempt by the world’s biggest platinum producer to push
back at a wave of illegal stoppages sweeping through the country’s mining
sector and beyond.
Kumba Iron Ore [JSE:KIO] said it was losing 120 000 tonnes
of finished product per day due to an illegal strike at its Sishen mine in
South Africa and it would be able to continue supply customers from stockpiles
only until mid-October.
Strikes have spread beyond the mining sector, with Shell
saying on Friday it would not be able to honour contracts to deliver fuel near
Johannesburg because of a trucking strike.
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