Mali union calls five-day general strike next week over pay claim

BAMAKO, May 15 (Reuters) - Mali's main union will start a five-day strike on Monday which could impact the West African country's gold mining sector, its secretary-general said on state television.

The National Union of Malian Workers (UNTM), which says it represents 80% of unionised workers in the country, including miners, teachers and health workers, has called the action in support of better pay.

The government has repeatedly said the budget cannot afford to meet the salary demands of the union.

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"The strike notice remains in force due to a lack of a agreement with the government," UNTM chief Yacouba Katile said on Friday.

It follows a similar strike in December, when a number of big international gold mining firms said they were not affected.

Mali is one of Africa’s largest gold producers. Companies operating in the country include Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) and Resolute Mining (RSG.AX).

There was no immediate comment from mining companies about the latest industrial action.

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Reporting by Tiemoko Diallo; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Mike Harrison

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