S. Africa Labor Relations Strained: AngloGold Chairman

A lack of communication and unwillingness to compromise are undermining labor relations in South Africa, said Tito Mboweni, the chairman of Anglogold Ashanti Ltd.

There are “examples of adversarial labor relations, lack of negotiation in good faith, unrealistic wage demands and poor communication between management and workers” that’s weighing on bargaining talks, Mboweni, who served as Labor Minister from 1994 until 1998 and thereafter as central bank governor, said in an Africa-Ireland forum today in Dublin, according to an e-mailed copy of the speech.

South Africa’s mining industry has been wracked by strikes since last year, disrupting exports and limiting growth in the continent’s largest economy. Members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union at Anglo American Platinum Ltd.’s mines have been on strike since Sept. 27 to protest against the company’s plans to cut 3,300 jobs.

“The recent history of labor relations in South Africa has not been a proud one and poor communication, a lack of respect and good faith, destructive behavior and an unwillingness to compromise have been observed far too often,” Mboweni said.

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