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Strike threatens 2010 World Cup final

Next year`s World Cup final in South Africa may be derailed by a strike threatening completion of the the Soccer City stadium near Soweto.

Construction workers have rejected an improved 11.5% wage offer by employers, although they have lowered their demands from 13% to 12%.

National Union of Mineworkers spokesman Bhekani Ngcobo says that “the strike is still on”, but hopes that an agreement will be reached at a meeting with employers and mediators.

The strike is blowing a hole in already tight schedules for construction projects across South Africa that are supposed to be completed by December for next summer’s World Cup.

At Soccer City, 200 workers brandished sharpened sticks and sang a Xhosa-language lament about how hard they work but how little they are paid.

The stadium - which looks like a rust-coloured calabash cooking pot - is already an architectural icon. Workers say that although they are proud to build a piece of South African history, they have little to show for it.

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