Aug.30 - South Africa gold producers are set set to strike from next Tuesday after talks over wages broke down. It could cost South Africa's economy over $35 mln a day in lost output. Ciara Sutton reports.
It could cost South Africa more than 35 million dollars a day in lost output - but the National Union of Miners isn't backing down. It looks set to strike next Tuesday, as workers demand more pay. Affected companies include the country's four main gold producers, AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields, Harmony Gold and Sibanye. Graham Briggs is Chief Executive of Harmony. (SOUNDBITE) (English) HARMONY CHIEF EXECUTIVE GRAHAM BRIGGS, SAYING: "Every month the gold mine sector is on strike it doesn't produce, we lose six billion rands in foreign exchange in this country, that's foreign exchange that will not be replaced." Wage talks between the NUM, which represents over 60 percent of workers in gold mining, and the companies broke down last week. Miners have been offered an increase in basic wages of between 6 and 6.5 percent. But despite rising costs and falling gold prices, the NUM has been seeking a rise of 60 percent. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NATIONAL UNION OF MINEWORKERS (NUM) SPOKESPERSON, LESIBA SESHOKA, SAYING: "The strike is continuing, 90 000 is down and we are continuing until a solution is found we are continuing to interact with each other we have done that over the weekend they moved to 7,5 its not enough yet and we are hopeful that if they continue to increase then we may have to get our members to get their feelings" The strike comes at a difficult time for the mining industry. Anglo American Platinum, the world's top platinum producer, is set to cut almost 5,000 jobs. It's a sensitive issue in South Africa, where the unemployment rate is more than 25 percent and violence rooted in a mining turf war has killed dozens of people over the past 18 months. The news is likely to put further pressure on the country's economy, already weighed down by ongoing strikes in auto manufacturing, construction and aviation services.