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JOHANNESBURG - South African coal producers and the main union representing their workers failed to reach an agreement on wages and the labour group has been given permission to call a strike.

The Chamber of Mines, which represents producers including Anglo American’s coal unit, and Glencore met the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) yesterday. 

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration issued a certificate of non-resolution to the dispute, the two sides confirmed in separate statements. 

“Negotiations between the NUM and the Chamber have officially collapsed,” the union said, adding its leadership would report back to members and issue a notice to go on strike. After a number of revised offers during talks that started in July, the companies put forward a three-year deal last month. 

The chamber called the proposal fair and reasonable and said coal workers were among the highest paid in the mining industry. “The parties could not reach agreement.”