Latest on strike by South African gold miners seeking higher wages

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(29 Jul 2011)
Kloof Gold Mine, Westonaria, Gauteng province, southwest of Johannesburg – 28 July 2011
1. Wide of exterior of Kloof gold mine, Westonaria, showing the shaft rig
2. Various of shaft rig, with wheels spinning
3. Pan right of gold miners walking past the camera, waving
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Zola Vuke, miner at the Kloof Gold Mine:
“It”s very terrible, it”s very terrible, to work underground and using that rope. So, there are a lot of things that need to be fixed. Because, in the gold fields, we are crying, that is what I am trying to say.”
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Thandisizwe Jiya, miner at the Kloof Gold Mine:
“This salary I”ve got, it”s little money. You cannot survive with that wage. 4,000 rand, it”s too little. We have needs.”
6. Mid of miners walking past the camera
Johannesburg – 28 July 2011
7. Setup of Frans Baleni (on right of screen), General Secretary for the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), talking to a colleague
8. Cutaway statue of a mineworker
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Frans Baleni, General Secretary for the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM):
“A gold mine worker earns as little as 4,000 (rand) and working in an environment that is very arduous, especially gold miners, their environment is very hot, very challenging, as you know that sometimes they can loose limbs and lungs, sacrificed to the dust. It”s a very difficult job, and we think that where we have packers in the retail industry who are earning more than mine workers, it is just unfair.”
Johannesburg – 29 July 2011
10. Wide of interior the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), with the electronic board showing commodity prices
11. Close electronic commodities board, with Harmony Gold Mines and Anglo Gold showing a rise (in green)
12. Wide of commodity prices running on the electronic ticker
13. Wide setup of Tony Twine, senior economist at the Econometrix group, talking on the phone
14. Close of telephone
15. SOUNDBITE (English) Tony Twine, senior economist at the Econometrix group:
“The fears that any cut in supply from South Africa, or any of the other producers in the world, might result in gold price rising, is probably unfounded, and that does not mean that the gold price will not rise, but be propelled rather by hedging activities in a time of great financial and economic uncertainty in major economies around the world.”
Kloof Gold Mine, Westonaria, Gauteng province, southwest of Johannesburg – 28 July 2011
16. Various of exterior of a non-working shaft rig at the Kloof gold mine
More than 250,000 South African gold miners went on strike on Thursday seeking higher wages and a cut of profits from soaring gold prices, a union representative said.
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said they expect the industrial action to halt operations at four companies including Anglogold Ashanti, Harmony Gold and Goldfields.
The miners want a 14 percent raise, Union General Secretary Frans Baleni said, because they want to see their share of the profits from high gold prices.
The union said the striking gold miners would join more than 150-thousand other miners from the coal and diamond sectors, who began striking within the last week.
Miner, Thandisizwe Jiya, told AP Television News he earns less than 600 US dollars (4,000 rand) a month.
“The salary I”ve got, it”s little money. You can”t survive with that wage,” he said.
Baleni described miners” work as “arduous” and said the fact that miners, who risked their health going underground, were paid less than manual labourers in the retail industry was “unfair”.
South Africa still remains one of the world”s top gold producers.

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