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South African Miners Gear Up for a Showdown

South African mining company Sibanye-Stillwater is set to meet unions this week over a looming strike at its gold operations in the country. The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), which has been mediating between the two sides, cleared the unions to give strike notice a month ago after declaring an impasse in wage talks. South Africa’s major unions, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), Solidarity, and UASA have been negotiating as a united coalition for the first time. Currently, the mining industry employs more than 450,000 people and accounts for about 8% of the economy. Earlier in February, Sibanye tabled its final offer which would have increased underground workers’ wages by $52.76 in each of the three years under negotiation. Other categories, including artisans and officials, would have gotten 5 percent increases over the same period.