Aletho News


Lonmin platinum mine workers end strike in South Africa

Press TV – September 19, 2012

Mineworkers of Lonmin platinum mine have ended their five-week strike and returned to work after the company increased their salaries, South African media says.

The Lonmin strike was marked by violent clashes in August, where police forces killed 34 striking miners at the platinum mine which is reportedly the world’s third-largest platinum producer with approximately 28,000 employees. In all, 45 people have died in violence related to the unrest.

“The end of the Lonmin strike is something we should all cheer, but how the dispute has been settled may provide a template for workers to use elsewhere. That’s the contagion threat,” wrote a columnist for Business Day (South Africa) on Wednesday.

Meanwhile,South African mining strikes spread to the chrome sector, after miners in gold and platinum mines halted work across the country.

Reports on Monday said that some miners at Samancor chrome mine located near Mooinooi, northwest of Johannesburg stopped work, demanding a minimum pay of 12,500 rand ($1,560).

According to an article published in Business Daily on Tuesday, “What started as a wage dispute… has morphed into something much bigger, posing a number of questions about the future of the mining industry and SA as an investment case… Workers at other mines may be encouraged to adopt the same tactics as the Lonmin workers, especially as they managed to winkle out extra pay from a struggling company.”

The Star newspaper also reported “this [end of the Lonmin strike] could be bad news for the biggest miners’ union in the country, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM)…. There is a strong feeling that NUM members will decamp and move to join the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), the NUM’s new rival.”

Earlier on September 10, some 15,000 mine workers staged a demonstration at Gold Fields mine to voice their anger over pay and working conditions, after four people injured in a shooting at the same mine.

South Africa is home to nearly 80 percent of the world’s known platinum reserves. Mining accounts for about 20 percent of the country’s national output.

September 19, 2012 - Posted by | Economics, Solidarity and Activism | , , , ,

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