Day 2: Gold sector strike

80,000 gold miners have downed tools in what is being dubbed as the most costly strike in SA's history.

National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) general secretary Frans Baleni. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The large scale National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) strike has entered its second day, with hopes of a settlement being reached soon.

About 80,000 members in the gold sector are striking for higher wages in what is being dubbed as the most costly strike in South Africa's history.

Two mining companies have already struck a deal with the union.

The companies have agreed to increase the worker's wages by up to 8 percent.

Now it's up to the larger mines, including Anglo Gold Ashanti and Sebanye Gold to reach wage agreements in order for the miners to return to work.

There was confusion about what the NUM was demanding yesterday with labour analysts saying the union wanted salary increases of up to 60 percent.

The NUM says it wants a wage adjustment of between R2,000 - R3,000 per month and is asking for a 15 percent hike.

The union says it is willing to drop the demand as long as the increases remains in the double digits.

Meanwhile, as strike season intensifies, Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant has called on unions and employers to negotiate in good faith.

The minister has also appealed for swift negotiations.

There are work stoppages in various sectors including the crucial gold mining industry, which has seen around 80,000 workers down tools.

The department's Musa Zondi said, "The minister has called on negotiators to get down to negotiating as soon as possible so that the country does not suffer unnecessarily."