South African Labor Unrest Spreads; 41,200 Miners Strike
Some of you out there might enjoy gold jewelry and the occasional diamond ring once in a while, am I right? While these precious rocks and minerals look really lovely on your hand and neck, unfortunately the politics behind them is enough to make one cringe and it reminds us that only place where these rocks belong is in the ground. Anyway, I'll let you read about this gold miners in Africa who went on strike and you can decide for yourself...and yes it was 41, 200 of them!
MARIKANA, South Africa (AP) — Labor unrest spread in South Africa on Monday with a wildcat strike by 15,000 workers stopping operations at a gold mine while few workers reported for duty in the fourth week of a stoppage at the world's third largest platinum mine.
Gold Fields International said its strike started Sunday night and that senior managers were at the scene Monday trying to find out what is wanted by miners 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 percent pay rise although they are continuing to work, spokesman Johan Theron said.
Lonmin PLC platinum mine said just 6 percent of its 28,000 workers turned up Monday morning at its mine in Marikana, west of Johannesburg. Mine drivers drove around looking for workers to pick up, but the buses returned to the mine empty.
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 ($1,560), about double their current wages.
Hundreds of chanting miners descended on one of the mine shafts Monday, carrying traditional spears and sticks. They marched under the close eye of armed police in riot gear, some in armored cars, others on foot.
Miners told The Associated Press they are 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. Still they said they remain resolute and will not return to work until their wage demand is met. The miners refused to give their names to a reporter.
Miners march to Lonmin Platinum Mine near Rustenburg, South Africa, Monday, Sept. 10, 2012, in an attempt to stop operations. 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. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
Women cheer on striking mine workers as they march to the Karee shaft at the Lonmin Platinum Mine near Rustenburg, South Africa Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012 to hand over a memorandum to mine management. Miners are refusing to return to work until their demands over low pay and working conditions are met. Three weeks ago 34 miners were shot and killed by police. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)
Police try to prevent striking mine workers marching to the Karee shaft at the Lonmin Platinum Mine near Rustenburg, South Africa Wednesday, Sept, 5, 2012 to hand over a memorandum to mine management. Miners are refusing to return to work until their demands over low pay and working conditions are met. Three weeks ago 34 miners were shot and killed by police. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)