Socialist Worker

Striking platinum miners need support as winter hits South Africa

by Ken Olende
Issue No. 2406

Unloading supplies for striking South African miners paid for with solidarity donations

Unloading supplies for striking South African miners paid for with solidarity donations


South Africa’s platinum bosses and the striking Amcu union are both considering a new proposal to end the 18-week strike.

Bosses are desperate to end the strike, which is hitting so hard it has shrunk the national economy. 

Mining production has seen its greatest fall since 1967.

According to statistics released last week mining GDP was down 24 percent over the last quarter.

Companies claim that the strike has cost them almost £1.2 billion in lost revenue. Miners have lost half a billion pounds in wages.

Platinum miners are demanding a living wage of 12,500 rand (£698) a month.

The union has compromised to say this can be phased in over four years. They are demanding solidarity from other workers to keep fighting.

On Monday of this week the union failed in a legal attempt to stop the employers texting strikers directly with their current offer. 

The court did not hear the case saying the issue was not urgent. Bosses hope that this will undermine strikers’ confidence.

Biting

As the strike enters its fifth month hardship is biting. It is winter in South Africa.

Miners can’t afford heat, food or medical care. Many have had to take their children out of school because they can’t pay the fees.

But solidarity relief from around the country and across the world is helping to keep them going.

These are just some of the hardship relief delivered to striking platinum miners so far. 

At Amplats Khuseleka Mine near Rustenburg—300 blankets, 300 nappies packs, 300 clothing packs, 500 food parcels, 300 pads, 300 vegetable packs.

At Marikana it was 6,000 hot meals, medical supplies and assistance, 2,300 food parcels, 300 medical food packs, 600 blankets, 500 nappies packs, 150 hygiene packs, 700 food packs, 60 x 12 sibusiso food supplements.

Keep on sending solidarity support so the miners can win.

For more information and details of how you can donate, go to bit.ly/1nrHAqr 
 

Tensions in the trade unions

The leadership of South Africa’s trade union federation Cosatu met last week.

The main order of business was appointing new people to a variety of positions to replace other employees moved into the newly re-elected ANC government.

They were also discussing plans to expel its biggest union Numsa which did not support the ANC in the election.

At a press conference Cosatu’s deputy president Zingiswa Losi said that there was a “cessation of hostilities”. 

He said this also covers the issue of a planned breakaway “United Front” movement supporting more militant union action against the government.

Losi said this would “militate against cohesion and unity”.


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Article information

International
Tue 3 Jun 2014, 17:56 BST
Issue No. 2406
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