Friday, 17 August 2012

More mining drama

This time in South Africa, where a week of running gun-battles between police and protesting miners has culminated in a shoot-out that has left between 7 and 20 dead (reports vary) and many injured. It is unclear whether this is a clash between mine ownership and workers or between two rival trade unions or whether something else is going on entirely.

Some have suggested that the living conditions of the workers may be to blame. Others have pointed out that the old system of mine-hostels and compounds was broken years ago in South Africa and replaced with a system of housing subsidies, suggesting that at least some of the anger may be directed at local government. The miners are demanding wage increases far beyond what would ever be likely, suggesting that there may be more going on than a pay dispute. Platinum mining companies in South Africa are not exactly known for their friendly relationship with employees but week-long gun-battles are a little unusual.

More info and important contextual analysis at African Scene here.

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