More South African Miners Fired After Strikes

Posted October 9th, 2012 at 10:50 am (UTC-5)
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A South African mining firm has fired more than 1,400 workers in the latest response to strikes that have cut gold and platinum production.

Gold One International said Tuesday that it was dismissing about 75 percent of the workforce at its Ezulwini operation, southwest of Johannesburg.

The firm linked the firings to a strike by workers at the mine that began October 1. South Africa's Labor Court declared the strike illegal, and Gold One had suspended the workers before firing them.

On Friday, mining giant Anglo American Platinum fired 12,000 workers at its mine in Rustenberg after a three-week wildcat strike.

These strikes and others were sparked by a violent strike by workers at the Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana township. Clashes, including a police shooting, killed 46 people during that strike, but the workers eventually received a pay raise of more than 20 percent.

Workers at other mines are now demanding similar hikes in pay.

Mining companies, which are losing tens of millions of dollars because of the strikes, have urged miners to negotiate through their unions instead of simply walking off the job.

South Africa's National Union of Mineworkers has urged the companies not to fire the striking workers, saying that will inflame the situation.