In the South African region of West Rand, Gold Fields, one of the world’s largest producers of gold have suspended 15,000 miners who yesterday took unofficial strike action, and are currently seeking a court injunction to bring the strike to an end.
Reasons for the strike are not 100% clear; however, it is believed that dissatisfaction with local NUM branch leadership, and demands for improved pay are the main causes of the dispute.
Throughout the mining disputes across South Africa, workers are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the approach of the NUM to negotiating with the bosses.
Workers rejection of the NUM is likely to escalate, as it has emerged that senior NUM leaders are earning salaries equivalent to those of union barons in the UK, despite the wages of the rank and file being significantly lower. There are also several former NUM leaders who sit on the board of directors at Lonmin.
The NUM invest significant amounts of union subs into a variety of companies. There has been an allegation by the new mineworkers union (AMCU) that the NUM have been investing monies into the mine companies themselves, hence their refusal to fight for miners interests. This allegation is unproven at the moment.
Elsewhere, workers at Lonmin platinum mine have failed to show up for yet another week. Business consultants that Lonmin brought in following the crash of their share prices has gone on record saying that “Lonmin need to start closing mines”.
The dispute across South Africa’s gold and platinum mines has no end in sight. The more that the corrupt NUM leadership cosy up to the bosses and the gangsters who run the ANC, the more the workers are going to take matters into their own hands.