S.Africa coal miners take wage dispute to arbitrators

Unions for coal miners in South Africa declared a dispute after wage talks with employers stalled, government arbitrators said Wednesday in the midst of similar strife in the gold sector.

The powerful National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and smaller groupings referred the matter, according to the state's Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.

Industry negotiators offered a seven percent pay and living allowance hike, according to union Solidarity.

Mass stoppages in the mining sector have crippled production in Africa's largest economy since last year.

Major strikes loom again this year as gold miners and unions struggle to reach an agreement.

Mining companies meanwhile struggle to balance increasing salary demands with lower profits.