South Africa is the world leader in mining and the country is famous for its abundance of mineral resources. It is clear that mining in South Africa has shaped the country politically, culturally and economically and South African mining companies are key players in the global mining industry and accounts for a significant proportion of the world’s production and reserves. And yet we still face the issue of South Africa being dubbed the protest capital of the world with over 2 million partaking in protest strikes since 2008. As of February 2014, statistics have estimated that there have been more than 30 active protest strikes PER DAY and overall involving more than a million people. These past two years have been a nightmare for the South African labour relations as pay strikes have rolled from sector to sector – mining, manufacturing, and transport – leaving in its wake red ink, protests and bloodshed.
There have been 6 significant and controversial mine strikes that have taken place in South African history, they are;
1946 – This strike was called “ The African Mine Workers Strike” and lasted for over a week. In this instance workers asked for a wage increase and an estimate of 9 people were killed, with atleast 1200 being injured. Read more here.
1987 – Although no official name has been given to this strike, but it was estimated that over 70 mine workers were injured. Read more here.
2007 – The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is a trade union in South Africa, founded in 1982 with a membership of 300,000. In 2007, the union workers protested against the living conditions in South African mines. This 2007 strike resulted in an unknown number of fatalities within a 12 month period. Read more here.
2012 – The strike that took place in 2012, was known as the Marikana mine strike. This resulted in the deaths of over 40 people and 70 people injured. Mine workers asked for an increase in wages, and received only a percentage of the 22% they requested. Read more here.
2013 – Northam Platinum has an estimate of 7000 mine workers strike, with an estimated loss of R74million. Demands put forward by NUM were a 16% wage increase, and an estimated 70% increase in their living-out allowance. Read more here.
And the most current which is still actively taking place in its 7th week is the Platinum Mine strike of 2014. Read my previous article here.
These mine strikes have been happening for the past few years and there seems to be no real solution.
How would you tackle the foreseeable strike future of the South African mines?
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