14 May 2014

South Africa: Nehawu Is Shocked and Angered By the Death of Mine Workers in Western Turkey and in Marikana

press release

NEHAWU is shocked and angered by the death of the 201 miners killed in western Turkey. We send our condolences to their families and colleagues and our message of solidarity to all the trapped and injured miners. We wish them a speedy recovery. According to Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz, this toll could rise with many more still trapped. It is disturbing to hear that so many have died because of lax safety standards while trying to earn an honest living. We call on the authorities to prevent any further loss of lives and to ensure that all efforts are directed towards saving the lives of entrapped workers.

Our union also sends its condolences to the killed mineworkers in Marikana and condemns the thuggery and the assassination of the non-striking workers and those who want to go back to work. We send our condolences to their families, colleagues and our sister union the NUM. Our union is disappointed that two years after the Marikana tragedy, workers are still being senselessly slaughtered in the platinum belt.

NEHAWU supports the demands of all mine workers for a living wage and better working conditions. They deserve fair compensation equivalent to the dangers of their work as highlighted by the tragedy in Turkey. We also expect the mine bosses to sort out the housing situation of workers because ,they stay in appalling conditions. We call on the exploitative mining companies to accede to fair and affordable demands of the workers.

We also call on the South African government to intervene and facilitate the process of finding a solution to this impasse. The gluttonous mining companies have shown that they are prepared to sabotage the economy and impoverish the workers and entire communities to protect their profits; this cannot be tolerated. Workers are already heavily indebted and some of them are losing their properties and are falling behind school payments for their kids.

This strike has shown the resilience of the workers but has also exposed AMCU as an amateurish, leaderless, one trick pony union that cannot be entrusted with the livelihoods of the workers. Rhetoric and brinksmanship does not amount to being revolutionary and the freshness of the amateur approach has its limits. By continuing to sow divisions amongst the workers they are doing the bidding for the mining bosses who are the only winners when workers kill each other.

Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat Office

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