Improve mine safety or we strike: South African union

DAYS after 3200 gold miners were rescued from deep underground after being trapped for 30 hours, South Africa's biggest mining union has threatened strike action unless safety conditions are improved.

Staff Reporter

AFP reports the National Union of Mineworkers will hold strike plans pending the results of a nationwide safety review of mines ordered by President Thabo Mbeki earlier this week.

NUM representatives told AFP that an average of 18 miners die a month in South African mines, with the country producing gold, platinum, diamonds and coal from its numerous operations.

The NUM welcomed the mine safety review and said it will meet with officials from the minerals and energy ministry this week to discuss safety issues.

The strike - if enacted - will be the second in a matter of months for the union after coal and gold miners walked off the job in August in a bid for better wages.