South Africa mine unrest spreads

 

Monday 10 September 2012 16:07
Comments
Police surround the bodies of striking miners after opening fire on a crowd  at the Lonmin Platinum Mine near Rustenburg
Police surround the bodies of striking miners after opening fire on a crowd at the Lonmin Platinum Mine near Rustenburg

Industrial action has spread in South Africa with a wildcat strike by 15,000 gold miners, while few workers reported for duty at in the fourth week of a stoppage at a platinum mine.

Gold Fields International said its strike started on Sunday night and that senior managers were at the scene trying to find out the cause of the problem at the west section of its KDC mine. The east section of the mine was operating normally.

At a second platinum mine, Implats, 15,000-plus workers are demanding a 10% pay rise although they are continuing to work, a spokesman said.

Lonmin platinum mine said just 6% of its 28,000 workers turned up at its mine in Marikana, west of Johannesburg.

Strikers have threatened to kill any miners or managers who do not respect their demand for all work to stop until Lonmin agrees to a monthly take-home pay of 12,500 rand (£975), about double their current wages.

Miners said they were getting desperate and do not have enough money to feed their families because of the no-work, no-pay strike. One said a loan shark is refusing to give money to any but old customers.

Lonmin had hoped many more would return to work since a peace accord was signed last week with three major unions. But it was rejected by a breakaway union and strikers who say they do not want to be represented by any union.

The government brokered the peace deal after police shot and killed 34 miners and wounded 78 on December 16, a mass shooting reminiscent of apartheid-era days that has shocked the country.

The last of the dead miners were buried during the weekend, one in Lesotho and three in South Africa.

Union rivalry is at the root of violent illegal strikes that have been troubling the mining industry that is the engine driving Africa's largest economy. The breakaway Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, or AMCU, has this year poached thousands of workers from the National Union of Mineworkers, South Africa's largest and politically connected workers' representative.

AMCU president Joseph Mathunjwa said that he will be attending wage negotiations at the Lonmin mine. But he said his continuing participation depends on his union not being sidelined to observer status.

AP

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in