Firing of gold miners in S. Africa may further inflame black unrest

The dismissal of more than 16,500 black miners in South Africa could further inflame an already volatile situation by adding embittered workers to the ranks of the country's unemployed. The workers were fired last weekend after two weeks of unofficial strikes over pay disputes and job practices.

The dismissals by two major South African gold mining companies -- Anglo American Corporation and Anglo Vaal -- took place while unrest continues in black townships.

Gold is vital to South Africa as the single most important earner of foreign exchange. According to Anglo American, the disruption caused production losses of about $12 million.

Talks between the black National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and Anglo American were expected to take place yesterday.

If, as is suspected in labor circles, the dismissal of miners was a bid by the mining companies to curtail the power of the relatively new NUM, observers warn that the firings could evoke a defiant and unified response from other black unions.

The dismissals may strengthen the perception of black activists that there is an alliance between the white minority government and big business.

The question is whether the dismissals will restore production in the mines and put pressure on the NUM -- or whether the dismissals will lead to further disruption.

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK