By Ed Stoddard WESTONARIA, South Africa (Reuters) - The newly elected head of South Africa's biggest mine union said on Sunday that his members were still being paid "apartheid" wages, signaling a hard line ahead of gold sector wage talks due to start on Monday. David Sipunzi, formerly a regional leader from the gold-producing Free State province, was elected general secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) earlier this month, replacing veteran Frans Baleni. The leadership shake up has come just ahead of what are expected to be tough negotiations in South Africa's ailing gold sector, which is grappling with depressed prices, falling production and rising costs. Speaking to Reuters ahead of a rally in the mining town of Westonaria west of Johannesburg, Sipunzi defended NUM's demand for wage hikes of around 80 percent for its lowest-paid members, who make between 5,000 rand ($410) and 6,000 rand monthly. "We expect them to meet our demands. Eighty percent of just over 5,000 rand is not too much. The CEOs are raking in millions. But the indications are that they are going to plead poverty," he said. "Nothing has changed. We are still being paid under the apartheid wage structure," he said, referring to the fact that lower-paid miners were overwhelmingly black and often drawn from rural areas far from the shafts - a system that has prevailed for decades. Sipunzi poured cold water on an industry initiative that has seen it propose "an economic and social" pact as part of the wage talks. Labor's response has been frosty. "We don't believe it will play a role in this year's negotiations because if we mix these two, the negotiations might become more protracted," he said. ANC RELATIONSHIP REMAINS Sipunzi also said he intended for NUM to remain a political ally of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) so it could inject itself into decision making - but the union expected the party to pursue labor-friendly policies. "Our relationship with the ANC is as strong as ever. But if we support the ANC they should support us," he said. "We believe that in order to have influence on policy making we have to be close to the ANC." One reason for the leadership change at NUM has been the tens of thousands of members it has lost to arch rival the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) in an often violent turf war. Sipunzi said he aimed to bring AMCU members back into his union's embrace, including its charismatic leader Joseph Mathunjwa, who left NUM over a decade ago. "Mathunjwa himself, he must come back home," Sipunzi said, adding that NUM and AMCU should bury their hatchets and confront the boardroom together. "We are not enemies, we are both workers. The enemy is the employer. If we are fragmented we are not going to win the battle with the employer." Monday's wage talks involve AngloGold Ashanti, Sibanye Gold and Harmony Gold. (Reporting by Ed Stoddard; Editing by Rosalind Russell)
- Fox News
Police arrested an ex-con killer this week just over a mile from the house where four University of Idaho college students were killed in their sleep last month.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez mocks Kyrsten Sinema's announcement to leave the Democratic Party and register as an independent: 'She lays out no goals for Arizonans'
Sinema's party switch comes as she's up for re-election in Arizona in 2024 in what's likely to become a competitive race.
- NBC Sports BayArea
The 49ers passed on Tom Brady during the NFL free-agent signing period of 2020, and Brady continues to play like a quarterback in his prime with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"Every time she washed her hair she got cold and would get a chill," her lawyer told ESPN
- BuzzFeed News
The Gay Nephew Of The Lawmaker Who Cried While Voting Against Marriage Equality Has A Message For Her
Missouri Republican Rep. Vicky Hartzler went viral for her teary (and unsuccessful) plea to stop the Respect for Marriage Act. Her gay nephew wants a word.View Entire Post ›
- BuzzFeed News
Prince Harry Said The Royal Family Didn’t Think His Relationship With Meghan Markle Would Last Because She Was An Actor
“The fact that I was dating an American actress was probably what clouded their judgment more than anything else at the beginning.”View Entire Post ›
- The Telegraph
Prince Harry appeared annoyed with his wife at one point in their new Netflix documentary when she joked about having to curtsey to the late Queen.
Ivanka Trump & Jared Kushner Ditched Their Usual PDA & Reportedly Acted 'Cold' Towards Each Other During Recent Public Outing
The holidays can be a stressful time for any family and Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner may have a bit of the blues right now. They attended a yacht party in Miami recently and the air around the normally affectionate couple was apparently a bit chilly. A Page Six source described them as “cold” around […]
- Miami Herald
A snake-wrangling couple got a big surprise the other day in Southwest Florida.
- Kansas City Star
The 27-year-old didn’t show up to the Chicago hospital where she works, and friends grew concerned when they didn’t hear from her.
(Bloomberg) -- The day after Donald Trump effectively gave up his court fight over government documents seized by the FBI from his Mar-a-Lago home, his lawyers were in a Washington courthouse amid reports the Justice Department has asked for the former president to be held in contempt in connection with the records probe.Most Read from BloombergPutin Says Russia May Add Nuclear First Strike to StrategyHarry and Meghan Throw the Gauntlet to William and KateCeline Dion Brings Attention to Stiff Pe
Griner's lawyer previously told PEOPLE that the transfer to Mordovia's penal colony was "a very challenging period for her" and had the WNBA "very stressed" as she tried to adjust
- In The Know by Yahoo
The husband called her ridiculous, but Reddit isn't on his side.
- Lebron Wire
Warriors superstar Stephen Curry gave his all-time starting five - but it didn't include LeBron James.
Brittney Griner, the American basketball star imprisoned in Russia, was released on Thursday (Dec. 8) in a prisoner swap for Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer whose notoriety earned him the epithet “Merchant of Death.”
- Rolling Stone
The GOP is condemning the president for securing the release of the WNBA star while former Marine Paul Whelan remains imprisoned in Russia
- Panthers Wire
Even though Baker Mayfield didn't work out in Carolina, Panthers fans were quite happy for the new Rams QB on Thursday night.
Meghan Markle Says She Learned Reality of Royal Life After Hug with Kate Middleton and Prince William
"Like I was a hugger, always been a hugger," Meghan Markle said in the Netflix docuseries Harry & Meghan. "I didn't realize that that is really jarring for a lot of Brits"
- MMA Junkie
Check out the results from the official UFC 282 fighter weigh-ins in Las Vegas.
- LA Times
Brittney Griner's release from Russia in a high-profile prisoner exchange should be celebrated, not disparaged by reactions reeking of bias and bigotry.