South African Striking Miners Tell Lonmin to Pay Up – Or Else
Striking Lonmin miners aren’t allowing the slaughter of their fellow miners to dissuade them from fighting for fair wages. In August, South African police gunned down striking miners, killing 44 and wounding several others.
Originally, the police said that they opened fire on the miners because the miners charged at them, but that is not the story being told by onlookers who were on the scene at the time.
But miners at Lonmin are standing their ground, going ahead with the strike, even in the face of global pressure.
Workers are facing a Monday deadline to return to the Lonmin Plc mines paralyzed by a four-week strike that has sent company shares plummeting, raised world platinum prices and stoked worries of labor unrest spreading through the mining sector of Africa’s largest economy.
“When the employer is prepared to make an offer on the table, we shall make ourselves available,” Joseph Mathunjwa, president at the militant Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), told a news conference
Strikers say they won’t relent until their monthly base pay is increased to 12,500 rand ($1,500), which, although meager, is double their current pay.
As it stands, both sides in the strike are pointing at the other as the reason why there hasn’t been any resolution. Before the rise of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), there was an unwritten rule that strikers would not resort to violence, but that’s over now. It is hard to know for sure, but one thinks that living on a base salary of less than $800 per month was part of what led to the rise in the number of strikers who began to view violence as a feasible option.
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