S Africa: 41,200 miners on strike

Labour unrest spread in South Africa on Monday with a wildcat strike by 15,000 gold miners stopping work.

Marikana: Labour unrest spread in South Africa on Monday with a wildcat strike by 15,000 gold miners stopping work at a mine while few workers reported for duty at in the fourth week of a stoppage at the world`s third largest platinum mine.

Gold Fields International said its strike started last 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 per cent 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 (USD 1,560), about double their current wages.

Miners said that 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.

Lonmin had hoped many more miners would come to work since a peace accord was signed last week with three major unions. But it was rejected by a breakaway union and strikers who say they do not want to be represented by any union.

The government brokered the peace deal after police shot and killed 34 miners and wounded 78 on December 16, a mass shooting reminiscent of apartheid-era days that has traumatised the nation of 48 million.


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