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South African Coal Companies’ Pay Offer Falls Short, Union Says

July 22 (Bloomberg) -- South African coal producers have offered a wage increase of 5.6 percent that falls short of worker demands, the labor union Solidarity said.

The proposal from the Johannesburg-based Chamber of Mines, representing companies including Anglo American Plc and Exxaro Resources Ltd., incorporates a housing allowance and is “unacceptable,” Solidarity said in an e-mailed statement today. The union is demanding a 10 percent gain.

“The coal industry is experiencing greater financial and labor stability and this stability will hopefully have a positive effect on the further progress of the negotiations,” Solidarity General Secretary Gideon du Plessis said in the statement.

Strikes over pay disrupted South Africa’s platinum, coal, gold and iron-ore industries last year. Wage talks between labor and gold producers started last week, with a proposed 4 percent increase in basic pay that was rejected by the unions.

BHP Billiton Energy Coal, Coal of Africa Ltd. and Optimum Coal are also represented by the chamber in the coal pay talks. Unions will respond to the offer at a Aug. 2 meeting.

To contact the reporter on this story: Paul Burkhardt in Johannesburg at pburkhardt@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Viljoen at jviljoen@bloomberg.net

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