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Striking miners shot down in Marikana, South Africa

Striking miners shot down in Marikana, South Africa

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We have received the following appeal:

An Injury to One is an Injury to All
A living wage for mineworkers is a living wage for all

Comrades,

We humbly write these words to draw your attention to the struggle and sacrifice platinum mineworkers are making for a living wage. A victory for the platinum workers will be massive for all South African workers, regardless of which trade union they belong to or which federation they are part of.

The platinum miners strike for R12500 is a legitimate demand. Workers have been massacred for making this demand. Yet the platinum workers are uncowed. 11 weeks on strike, but they are holding steadfast. Its a response to the doubling of prices for basic food stuffs over the past five years and wage repression pursued by the mine bosses over the past 15 years. Mining Capital as a whole have managed in this short space of time to ensure a fall in the wage share of total value produced in South Africa every year, from 55% in 1997 to 38% in 2012 (StatsSA). In platinum mining the wage share of new value created stood at 61% in 1997. By 2012, it had fallen to 35%!

The strike is a response to the excessive profiteering of the platinum bosses. Platinum has enjoyed extremely high rates of return on investment. R48 billion of the R158 billion in mining profits paid out to shareholders from 2006 to 2011 were from platinum mining. This fact has not been lost on miners, who have seen massive expansion of operations and their senior managers earn grotesque sums of money.

The strike is also a response to the bosses demand for a 15% and upwards returns on their investments. This profit bench mark was set last year by the mining giant Anglo American, owner of Angloplats. It would translate into a profit increase by more than R29.5 billion for Angloplats, Implats and Lonmin together from the current profit levels. This is what the shareholders demand! But if far less than half of those increased profits they want instead was to be divided between all the 135 000 workers employed by the 3 giant companies – permanent as well as contract workers – they all would receive a wages well above R12500, after all deductions, Why should we accept excessive profiteering at the expense of a living wage?

And make no mistake: the strike is also about HOPE! Despite the Marikana massacre, the mighty movement that followed showed the Nation: Workers can do it. Our world can be changed, it must be changed and we will change it!

It is therefore no wonder the propaganda waged by the bosses and their lackeys in the media about affordability and threats of shaft closures has failed to weaken the resolve of the striking mineworkers and its leadership. The refusal of the platinum giants to budge from their initial offer is not about affordability, its simply about power, as was the case with the 1987 strike. Again like the1987 strike could have already met this demand with the losses incurred to date.

Unlike the unwillingness of the bosses to make any compromise, the mineworkers have made five compromises on their set of demands. The bosses are not negotiating in good faith.

We appeal to all trade unionists to rally against the unity of the capitalist class supported by the state and to respond with our own show of unity. To this end we appeal for support for the section 77 protected strike that NACTU has applied for.

We also appeal for the trade unions to hold money collections in support of the newly established AMCU strike fund. Monies can be deposited into the following account:

Bank:
Account Name: Account Number: Branch Code:

Standard Bank – Witbank Business
AMCU Association of Mineworkers and Construction Strike Fund 332 748 634
052 750

Copies of deposit slips or EFT transfers must be emailed to dlf.wcape.tradeunion@outlook.com and in the e-mail please indicate which organization/church/group made the deposit and the province.

At this moment in time our slogan an injury to one is an injury to all has be put into practice. A defeat of the mineworkers will be a defeat for the entire workers movement. We have to put aside our political and organisational affiliations to build the unity capable of stopping the bosses starving one of the most powerful sections of the working class back to work.

Issued by the National Committee of the Democratic Left Front Email:dlf.wcape.tradeunion@outlook.com

Rehad Desai

Categories: Africa, labor

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