JOHANNESBURG -- Leaders of 300,000 striking black miners agreed yesterday to meet with the country's biggest mining company to discuss ways of reducing violence in the work stoppage at gold and coal mines.
But Cyril Ramaphosa, general secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers, said the strike, the biggest in South Africa's history, will continue until all union demands are met.
Ramaphosa also told a news conference that the strike would spread to additional mines today. He gave no details. He said a strategy meeting of 200 union officials yesterday had agreed to accept an invitation from the giant mining conglomerate, Anglo American Corp., to negotiate on methods of cutting violence at the strikebound mines.
About 240 persons have been injured and more than 200 arrested since the strike began Aug. 9, according to the latest union figures.
Ramaphosa said the talks with Anglo American, which could begin today, will be the first top-level contacts between the union and the mining houses since the beginning of the strike, which has affected about half of South Africa's gold mines and a fifth of its coal mines.
But he denied that the union, which is demanding a 30 percent wage increase, is backing down.
"The strike continues until a settlement is reached," Ramaphosa said.