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South Africa miners strike over safety issues

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South Africa miners strike over safety issues

Post by shammy on Tue Dec 04, 2007 4:35 pm

4th December,2007

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) -- Thousands of striking miners gathered for a march Tuesday to protest the lack of safety controls in a country where a miner dies nearly every day.

The world's leading producers of gold and platinum are among mines to be hit by the one-day strike called by 270,000-member National Union of Mineworkers.

With miners bused in from rural areas, the union said it expects some 40,000 members to march in Johannesburg on the Chamber of Mines, which includes industry leaders AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields, Harmony Gold, Anglo Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin.

South Africa's main union called the strike to draw attention to its concerns about safety with more and more deaths underground and an order from the president for safety audits in all mines.

Chamber officials did not comment on the strike, other than to refer to a joint statement released after a meeting last week with the union at which it was agreed the protest strike would be on a "no work, no pay basis."

Both sides acknowledged "there is much to be done to drastically reduce the number of accidents and fatalities on the mines."

Union spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said: "We've had a lot of commitment from them, but (improved safety measures) haven't been implemented. We felt they needed a bit of a push."

The problems, compounded by the country having the deepest mines in the world, often are seen as a hangover from the former white apartheid regime, which was seen as unconcerned about the safety, poor pay and dire living conditions of black miners.

Fourteen years after the end of white rule, miners continue to be the poorest paid in the industrial sector.


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