July 23, 2009

South Africa’s Telkom faces strike

South Africa's leading fixed-line phone operator faces a strike after labor talks on pay demands failed to reach a settlement, union officials said.

The Communications Workers Union said its strike against Telkom SA Ltd. could begin soon after its national meeting Friday. The walkout would come on top of a string of strikes involving thousands of workers in sectors ranging from paper and chemicals to pharmaceuticals, consumer goods sectors and the national broadcaster, as the country tackles its first recession in 17 years, Business Day in Cape Town, South Africa, reported.

Other groups, including the South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers' Union, have planned protests, the newspaper said.

Thousands of South African construction workers this month conducted a weeklong strike that halted work on 10 soccer stadiums to be used for the 2010 World Cup.

The strike was settled with a 12 percent wage increase.

Gold mining workers have also threatened over wages.

The Communications Workers Union said it demanded Telkom give its members a 7.5 percent pay increase, backdated to April 1. Telkom said it would raise wages but not until October, Business Day reported.