The Freeland File
Aerospace & Defense
Global Market Data
Lucy P. Marcus
David Cay Johnston
The Great Debate
Jack & Suzy Welch
Macro & Markets
Lipper Awards 2012
Personal Finance Video
Our best photos from the last 24 hours. Slideshow
Images of September
Venezuela's Chavez revels in re-election victory
Pressure is on Biden after Obama's lackluster debate performance
07 Oct 2012
Chavez supporters party on anticipated win in Venezuela vote
07 Oct 2012
Alwaleed's Kingdom Holding plans up to $500 mln loan - sources
07 Oct 2012
Lawmakers seek to block China's Huawei, ZTE inroads in U.S.
Romney’s strong debate showing puts Europe on edge
Obama and Romney battle over economy at debate
Weak U.S. labor market looms ahead of elections
Our day's top images, in-depth photo essays and offbeat slices of life. See the best of Reuters photography. See more | Photo caption
Hugo Chavez scored a comfortable election victory over Henrique Capriles, that could extend his rule to 20 years. Slideshow
David Blaine electrifies
Magician David Blaine stands on a 20-foot-high platform, channeling one million volts of electricity through tesla coils for 72 hours. Slideshow
South Africa state workers join strike bandwagon
South Africa municipal workers gear up for national strike
Wildcat strikes up stakes in South Africa labor game
Sun, Oct 7 2012
South African strikers press Amplats to revoke sackings
Sat, Oct 6 2012
South Africa's Amplats fires 12,000 strikers, union leader shot
Fri, Oct 5 2012
South African mine unrest spreads, Toyota hit by strike
Thu, Oct 4 2012
Analysis & Opinion
“Living Under Drones” – the anti-drone campaign can do damage too
By Agnieszka Flak and Sherilee Lakmidas
Mon Oct 8, 2012 10:56am EDT
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's local government workers' union said on Monday it would launch a strike over pay in the next few days, the first sign of a wave of labor unrest in Africa's biggest economy spreading from the mines into the public sector.
Since August, close to 100,000 workers, including 75,000 in the mining sector, have downed tools in often illegal and violent protests that look likely to hit growth this year and undermine the government's efforts to cut its budget deficit.
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has promised to reduce the deficit from the 4.6 percent of GDP forecast for this financial year. Any public sector wage increase would make that more difficult.
"The union is mobilizing towards a national protest, which would begin as soon as this week," South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) spokesman Tahir Sema said.
A majority of SAMWU's 190,000 members are expected to join the strike for "market-related salaries" which may last for one day or drag on indefinitely, Sema said.
The strikes, which started in the platinum industry and spread to other mining companies and beyond, have raised questions about President Jacob Zuma's leadership and tarnished South Africa's reputation among foreign investors.
The rand fell to a 3-1/2 year low against the dollar on Monday, while the cost of insuring South African debt against default increased, reflecting worsening investor sentiment toward local assets.
"International investors are really quite concerned around South Africa," said Mohammed Nalla, an analyst at Nedbank Capital in Johannesburg. "Structurally and fundamentally, the outlook on the rand is deteriorating."
Moody's cut South Africa's government bond rating last month, citing the government's difficulty in keeping up with economic challenges and widening strikes.
ELAND ON STRIKE
Wildcat strikes have already shut down large parts of the mining industry in the world's top platinum producer and a major supplier of gold, pushing prices of precious metals higher.
Xstrata is the latest victim, with workers at its Eland platinum mine walking out on Friday.
The mine is expected to produce 176,000 ounces of platinum this year, compared with forecast production nationwide of 4.9 million ounces of the precious metal used in jewelery and vehicle catalytic converters.
Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) fired 12,000 wildcat strikers on Friday, a high-stakes attempt by the world's top producer to squash illegal stoppages that have hit output at seven of its mines.
The dismissed workers were defiant and threatened a repeat of the showdown with security forces at rival Lonmin's Marikana mine that led to the police killing of 34 miners on August 16, the bloodiest such incident since the end of apartheid in 1994.
"Those who are dismissed will make sure that there will be no operations operating and that will cause a massacre just like at Marikana," said one worker representative, who asked not to be named.
Other affected mining firms include Kumba Iron Ore, which is losing 120,000 tonnes of output per day, and AngloGold Ashanti.
The world's third-largest bullion producer warned that a prolonged strike could lead to the closure of marginal shafts and job losses, but said it was not considering mass sackings.
A strike by more than 20,000 truck drivers entered its third week on Monday, hitting logistics companies and leading to filling stations running out of some grades of fuel. Wage talks with employers were expected to resume on Tuesday.
The main transport union, SATAWU, said it was gearing up for a one-day rail and port worker strike on October 15, which could hit exports of coal and other minerals.
(Additional reporting by David Dolan and Stella Mapenzauswa; Editing by Ed Cropley and Giles Elgood)
Related Quotes and News
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Be the first to comment on reuters.com.
Add yours using the box above.
Back to top
New York Legal
Support & Contact
Connect with Reuters
Our Flagship financial information platform incorporating Reuters Insider
An ultra-low latency infrastructure for electronic trading and data distribution
A connected approach to governance, risk and compliance
Our next generation legal research platform
Our global tax workstation
About Thomson Reuters
Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on Reuters.com, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.
NYSE and AMEX quotes delayed by at least 20 minutes. Nasdaq delayed by at least 15 minutes. For a complete list of exchanges and delays, please click here.