October 8, 2008 / 12:38 PM / 11 years ago

S.African union to boycott AngloGold mine Thursday

JOHANNESBURG, Oct 8 (Reuters) - South Africa’s biggest miners union said on Wednesday 5,000 members would stay away from work at AngloGold Ashanti’s (ANGJ.J) TauTona mine on Thursday to mark the death of a colleague who died last week.

The NUM has been putting pressure on mining companies to take action to prevent workers’ deaths. Since last year, when a miner dies, union members at the mine stop work for one day to mark the death and to urge the company to improve safety.

South Africa has an appalling safety record, and 135 workers have died in mines so far this year, compared to 221 in 2007 and 200 in 2006.

AngoGold, Africa’s top gold producer, said last week a worker died at the TauTona mine near Johannesburg when a tunnel collapsed early on Thursday.

“A memorial service is scheduled to begin at 0600 GMT in the morning. There will be no work,” Lesiba Seshoka, a spokesman for the NUM said in a statement.

Mining companies have suffered production losses after fatalities due to routine shutdowns ordered by the government for investigations and the work stoppages by labour.

Reporting by James Macharia; editing by Christopher Johnson

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