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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 September, 2004, 14:41 GMT 15:41 UK
Botswana miners settle wage row
Diamonds
Diamonds account for half of Botswana's revenues
Botswana diamond miner Debswana has settled wage talks in the wake of an illegal strike that disrupted some of the world's biggest gem mines.

But 318 workers who had been fired for taking part in the strike will not be reinstated, Debswana said.

The firm's offer of a 10% wage rise and a one-off bonus equal to 10% of annual salary has been accepted by the Botswana Mine Workers' Union.

Debswana said the strike would not affect production targets.

The walk-out, which started on 23 August and ran for two weeks, was over better pay and bonuses.

The strike involved about 2,400 of Debswana's work force of 5,600.

Botswana is the world's largest producer of uncut diamonds and Debswana, which is owned by diamond giant De Beers and the Botswana government, operates four diamond mines.

Court hearing

Debswana said a total of 451 workers had been sacked for taking part in the strike, which was the longest in Debswana's history, but 133 have since been re-employed.

The rest are awaiting a Court of Appeal hearing on 24 September, when unions hope to overturn the original court ruling that the strike was illegal.

Debswana is preparing to defend itself at the hearing.

"But, if it is ruled that the strike was legal, we will reinstate all the workers," said Debswana group human resources manger Paul Gahagan.

The union demand for reinstatement prevented a deal early on in the strike, Debswana had said.




SEE ALSO:
Botswana strikers 'being evicted'
01 Sep 04  |  Business
Botswana firm 'dismisses' workers
24 Aug 04  |  Business


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