n Africa Conflict Monthly Monitor - Fixing mining industry woes is essential for South Africa's domestic stability - : Southern Africa - issue in focus

Volume 2013, Issue 08
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Marred by wildcat strikes amid controversy concerning poor and dangerous working conditions and low workers' wages, the economically vital mining industry of South Africa has become increasingly volatile. The industry is a fair bellwether for social unrest in the country. The South African Government has thus far struggled with indecision about mining regulation, leaving the future of the industry in doubt about its role in the national economy. In mid-July 2013, 5,600 mine workers under the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) went on strike after the AMCU neglected to sign a stability agreement and peace pact that would attempt to solidify the industry while pay negotiations remained on-going. A 'peace pact' is needed in the wake of a string of disruptions and violence that escalated from labour strikes in August 2012, when dozens of people were killed in clashes between striking miners and police at the Lonmin platinum mine near Marikana. The Markinana incident brought the issue of worker's rights to global attention. The AMCU has since followed up with the rally cry for "a living wage," or a pay increase that will provide enough for a miner and his dependents to satisfy family needs.

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