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SAfrica union cancels strike at World Cup stadiums

JOHANNESBURG, Nov 19 (Reuters) South Africa's National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said today it had cancelled a planned strike due to start on Tuesday at all 2010 World Cup stadiums under construction after settling a wage dispute.

The NUM mainly represents mine workers in South Africa but also has some construction workers under its wings. It had said members would down tools at the mass transit Gautrain high-speed rail project as well as stopping work at the stadiums.

The union had planned to ask some 14,000 construction workers to go on strike at all World Cup venues in solidarity with their colleagues at the Moses Mabhida stadium site in Durban who were demanding better pay and working conditions.

The NUM gave seven days notice for the strike last Tuesday.

''Workers score big at Moses Mabhida,'' the NUM said in a statement.

Talks between the union and South African construction firms Murray&Roberts (M&R) and WBHO, which are building the Moses Mabhida stadium, managed to solve the dispute, with the workers getting better terms, the NUM said.

The union said the employers had agreed to pay workers a 2,000 rand (298.3 dollars) Christmas bonus in addition to their wages and other bonuses. The employers would also pay an additional bonus of 4,000 rand at the end of workers' contracts in May 2008.

''This is a huge achievement for our workers. The project bonus amounts to over 800 rand per month and our workers have a reason to smile all the way to the bank,'' said Bonginkosi Mncwabe, the NUM's regional coordinator in KwaZulu-Natal province, where the stadium is located.

The employers also agreed to appoint a full-time union safety officer.

The NUM had demanded project bonuses of 1,500 rand a month for each worker at the Moses Mabhida site and the election of a full-time safety compliance worker.

The strike would have been the latest in a series of labour disputes that have threatened to disrupt South Africa's preparations to host the soccer spectacle.

Officials at M&R and WBHO were not immediately available to comment.


Story first published: Monday, November 19, 2007, 21:05 [IST]
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