REFILE-UPDATE 1-S.Africa municipal workers gear up for national strike

(Refiles to correct typo in third paragraph)

JOHANNESBURG, Oct 8 (Reuters) - South Africa's union oflocal government workers has filed notice to embark on anational strike, a spokesman said on Monday, a sign thatcrippling labour unrest in Africa's top economy is widening intothe public sector.

"The union is mobilising towards a national protest, whichwould begin as soon as this week," Tahir Sema, a spokesman forthe South African Municipal Workers Union told Reuters.

The action, which could lead to a one-day protest or anindefinite strike, would call for medium and lower-incomeworkers to receive market-related salaries and for pay parityamong workers across South Africa's provinces, Sema said.

Close to 100,000 workers, including 75,000 in the miningsector alone, have taken to the streets in recent weeks in oftenviolent protests, demanding higher wages and better incomeequality in Africa's biggest economy.

The wildcat strikes have shut down great parts of the miningindustry in the world's top producer of platinum and a majorsupplier of gold, pushing prices of precious metals higher.

SAMWU has more than 190,000 members country-wide and amajority was expected to participate, Sema said.

Workers were calling for medium and lower-income workers toreceive market-related salaries and for greater pay parity amongworkers across the provinces, he added.

The strikes pushed the rand to a fresh 3-1/2 year low onMonday and prompted Moody's last month to cut South Africa'sgovernment bond rating, citing the government's difficulty inkeeping up with economic challenges and wideningstrikes.

Anglo American Platinum fired 12,000 wildcatstrikers on Friday, a high-stakes attempt by the world's biggestplatinum producer to push back at a wave of illegal stoppagessweeping through the country's mining sector and beyond.

Kumba Iron Ore said it was losing 120,000 tonnes offinished product per day due to an illegal strike at its Sishenmine in South Africa and it would be able to continue supplycustomers from stockpiles only until mid-October.

Strikes have spread beyond the mining sector, with Shellsaying on Friday it would not be able to honour contracts todeliver fuel near Johannesburg because of a trucking strike.

(Reporting by Agnieszka Flak; editing by David Dolan)

((agnieszka.flak@thomsonreuters.com)(+27 11 775 3154)(ReutersMessaging: agnieszka.flak.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))


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