S. African Clothing Workers Strike in KwaZulu-Natal

South African clothing workers in the southeastern province of KwaZulu-Natal went on strike yesterday and today to protest wage levels that a labor union says are below the legal minimum.

About 10,000 workers mounted a “warning” strike against member companies of the United Clothing and Textile Association, mainly in the towns of Newcastle and QwaQwa, the Southern African Clothing & Textile Workers Union said in an e-mailed statement today. The strike has now been suspended.

Earlier this week workers struck at a chrome mine in the country owned by Lanxess AG and clashed with security guards, who fired rubber bullets. Last week workers halted work and protested at a mine owned by platinum producer Lonmin Plc because of a dispute over union representation.

The rand has declined to its lowest in four years because of concerns over a return to labor unrest that last year curbed economic growth. The rand fell 0.3 percent to 9.5749 to the dollar as of 5:04 p.m. in Johannesburg.

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