Sept 5 (Reuters) - About 1.3 million South African publicsector workers, on strike for nearly a month, may soon return towork but continue talks on whether to accept an increasedgovernment wage offer.
The following is look at some of the labour actions in theannual mid-year period of labour unrest known as "strikeseason", which was highlighted this year by threats to haltcrucial public services during South Africa's June-to-Julyhosting of the soccer World Cup:
* One of the most costly strikes was a three-week rail andport walkout at the state logistics group Transnet in May thatcost the economy about $1 billion in lost production and sales.Unions said they won an 11 percent pay increase.
* The biggest strike in terms of man-days lost has been thestrike by about 1.3 million state workers that started on Aug.18 and has shut schools, caused chaos at hospitals and led tobodies piling up at morgues.
The strike has indirectly cost the economy about $150million a day, according to the estimates of one economist.
The government offered a 7.5 percent wage increase and 800rand ($108) a month for housing. Unions want 8.6 percent and1,000 rand.
The eventual hit to the budget could be just as damaging.The government has said its offer would cost about 6.5 billionrand more than budgeted. That estimate might be a bit low andthe actual figure could be more than double that.
* About 70,000 workers at petrol stations, garages and autodealerships are still on strike after walking off the job onWednesday, seeking 20 percent wage increases.
* South Africa's largest trade union, the National Union ofMineworkers (NUM), said that more than 8,000 workers seeking 15percent pay increases at Northam Platinum began a work stoppageon Monday. Workers at one of the country's smaller platinummines rejected the company's 8 percent wage offer.
* Workers who comprise the bulk of the workforce at statepower utility Eskom in June won a 9 percent wage increase and a1,500 rand housing allowance after threatening a strike thatcould have cut electricity during the World Cup.
* About 30,000 autoworkers, seeking a 15 percent wage hike,went on strike in August, dealing a blow to production in theAfrica's biggest car making state. They accepted a three-yeardeal, with workers receiving a 10 percent increase this year,and 9 percent a year in the next two years.
* Richards Bay Minerals (RBM), a Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton joint venture, last week reached a wage deal to end a week-longstrike. RBM says it agreed to an 8 percent pay rise with the NUMfor 2010 and a 7 percent increase each for 2011 and 2012. (Reporting by Jon Herskovitz and Peroshni Govender; Editing byGiles Elgood)