Home > News > World
Thursday July 3, 2014 MYT 7:35:02 PM
Thursday July 3, 2014 MYT 7:36:02 PM
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African police fired rubber bullets to disperse striking workers blocking the entrance to the construction site of Eskom's Medupi power station in northern Limpopo province on Thursday, a police spokeswoman said.
More than 220,000 metal and engineering workers led by South Africa's biggest union, National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), went on an open-ended strike on Tuesday to demand higher wages.
"A few hundred workers were blocking one of the entrances to Medupi power plant and we had to use rubber bullets to disperse them," said police spokeswoman Ronel Otto, adding that the situation had been contained by the afternoon on Thursday.
NUMSA is due to meet the main employers representative body, Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA), later on Thursday to try to end the latest strike that economists say could badly hit Africa's most advanced economy.
The stoppage is costing South Africa some 300 million rand ($27.84 million) (16.24 million pounds) a day in lost output, and comes in the wake of a damaging five-month platinum strike that has dented investor confidence and dragged the economy into a quarterly contraction.
NUMSA is demanding wage increases of between 12 and 15 percent - at least double the official inflation rate - from employers represented by SEIFSA.
Another employer body, National Employers Association of South Africa (NEASA), which is due to meet NUMSA on Friday, said its members would not agree to a double-digit wage increase.
"My position is I cannot go beyond eight percent," Gerhard Papenfus, chief executive at NEASA told Reuters. "It would be irresponsible. This industry is in severe difficulty and 10 percent is irresponsible."
NEASA represents close to 3,000 employers, mainly small and medium-sized businesses.
(Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng and Wendell Roelf in Cape Town; Editing by Pascal Fletcher)
South Africa police fire rubber bullets at farm worker protest
Police fire rubber bullets at South Africa farm strikers
South African police fire rubber bullets at protest by new party
At least 13 wounded in South African mine fight - police
Poll shows Rousseff gaining momentum as Brazil election nears
Libya's parliament allies with renegade general, struggling to assert authority
Using military and new protocols, U.S. ramps up Ebola response
Gaddafi cousin hopes to participate in Libyan peace talks
World must stop Ebola in West Africa or face 'pandemic' - Castro
Turkey to let Iraqi Kurds reinforce Kobani as U.S. drops arms to defenders
Parnell out for Proteas but De Villiers backs depth
Checked baggage not free on Air Canada
Disney’s latest short film is a delightful ‘Feast’
Copyright © 1995-2014 Star Publications (M) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)