MAC: Mines and Communities

South African mineworker strikes proliferate, with no resolution in sight

Published by MAC on 2012-10-08
Source: Bloomberg News, Reuters

ANC Youth League condemns Anglo Platinum as a "disgrace"

Long-term Investors in South Africa's mining industry are divesting from company stocks, according to the country's Business Day newspaper.

Workers  are extending their strikes to even more mines, and no resolution of the current, tension-ridden, impasse appears to be in sight.

Meanwhile, a branch leader of the National Union of Mineworkers was shot dead near a Lonmin platinum mine, in mysterious circumstances.

Last Friday, UK-based Anglo American Platinum fired some 12,000 workers it alleged had engaged in an illegal, "wildcat", strike .

In response, the Youth League of South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANCYL) condemned the company as "a the country at large, a representation of white monopoly capital out of touch and uncaring of the plight of the poor."

The League went on to "pledge solidarity with the dismissed workers", and called upon "all progressive forces to support the call for their immediate return".

For earlier report, see: South Africa: More mines closed down by workers

Gold One Suspends Workers as South African Strikes Continue

By Franz Wild and Carli Cooke

Bloomberg News

4 October 2012

Gold One International Ltd. (GDO) issued suspension notices to striking employees at a mine in South Africa, where thousands of workers have walked off the job, demanding pay increases of as much as four times inflation.

A "large number" of Ezulwini workers didn't report for work on Oct. 1 even after the Labour Court issued an order against the illegal strike, the Johannesburg-based company said today. "We are therefore without any option but to suspend these striking employees," it said.

Strikes have stalled mines owned by Africa's three largest gold producers and the world's largest platinum producer, and delaying deliveries of goods including motor fuels as truck drivers protest for more pay.

August inflation was 5 percent. About 12 percent of global platinum production was halted after Anglo American Platinum Ltd. (AMS) workers went on strike, according to Bloomberg calculations.

About 46 people died in protests last month at Lonmin's Marikana mine.

Workers ended a six-week illegal strike after securing pay increases ranging from 11 percent and 22 percent. Protesters blocked the entrance to Harmony Gold Mining Co. (HAR)'s Kusasalethu mine with burning tires this week.

Security was tightened near Amplats's Khuseleka mine after roads were barricaded with rocks and burning tires, and a hawker's store was set alight during violent protests linked to the strike, the South African Press Association reported. Amplats declined to respond to a request for comment.

Trucks Burned

Trucks were torched and traffic was blocked yesterday when a protected strike by more than 20,000 drivers spread from Johannesburg to other provinces. Near George, in the south of the country, a truck was hijacked and set alight, SAPA reported, citing police.

The strike added pressure on fuel stations' stock, MC Lamprecht, chairman of the 900-member South African Petroleum Retailers'
Association, said on Oct. 2. He didn't immediately respond to two messages on his mobile phone today.

About 300 workers began a strike at Kumba Iron Ore Ltd. (KIO), the Pretoria-based company said yesterday. Anglo American Platinum's Rustenburg and Union mines are on strike.

All of AngloGold Ashanti Ltd (AU)'s South African mines are down, as well as Gold Fields Ltd's KDC West and Beatrix mines. Together the gold mines account for about 39 percent of the nation's production of the precious metal.

Strikes in South Africa, producer of three-quarters of global platinum output, helped boost prices of the metal 18 percent since Aug. 1, Nomura Bank International Plc said in a note today. Platinum rose as much as 0.8 percent to $1,701.49 an ounce in London.

Divesting Report

Long-term investors are divesting from South Africa gold stocks because of the strikes, Johannesburg-based Business Day reported, citing Gold Fields Ltd. (GFI) Chief Executive Officer Nick Holland.

"The impact of the truck strike on the South African wholesale and retail industry is being felt," the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.

Workers are making demands directly to management and through labor unions. The Chamber of Mines, representing large mining companies, and the National Union of Mineworkers met yesterday to discuss workers' demands.

They'll meet again on Oct. 9, NUM said in a statement yesterday.

South African union leader shot dead near Lonmin mine: NUM


5 October 2012

JOHANNESBURG - A branch leader of South Africa's National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) was shot dead on Friday near a mine run by platinum producer Lonmin as labor unrest sweeps the mining sector.

NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka told Reuters the union leader had been killed "execution style" in the evening hours but gave no further details.

Earlier on Friday Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) fired 12,000 wildcat strikers, a high-stakes attempt by the world's biggest platinum producer to push back at the illegal stoppages in Africa's biggest economy.

Anglo American Platinum is a disgrace - ANCYL

Khusela Sangoni-Khawe

7 October 2012

League disturbed by company's irrational firing of 12 000 workers

The ANC Youth League is deeply disturbed and angered by the irrational and illogical firing of 12 000 workers by Anglo American Platinum (Amplat).

This action demonstrates the insensibility and insensitivity of the company, the world's largest platinum producer, which has made astronomical profits on the blood, sweat and tears of the very same workers that today the company can just fire with impunity.

Amplats is a disgrace and a disappointment to the country at large, a representation of white monopoly capital out of touch and uncaring of the plight of the poor.

Their action shows the highest level of disdain and spits on the graves of those who have lost their lives in the current mining climate. No doub today's ill-fated and unfortunate decision will undoubtedly and justifiably heighten the tensions in the country at large and the mining industry in particular.

The African National Congress Youth League therefore pledges solidarity with the dismissed workers and calls upon all progressive forces to support the call for their immediate return.

Everyday, the disdain with which white monopoly capital conducts itself against the rightful owners of these mineral resources, South Africans - the majority of whom are black and poor, reaffirms the correctness of the ANC Policy Conference resolution for nationalization of mines and other strategic sectors of the economy.

Statement issued by the African National Congress Youth League, October 5 2012

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