South African platinum miners walk out in dispute over minimum wage

Tens of thousands of miners in South Africa have gone on strike, demanding a higher minimum wage. Outside the AngloAmerican Bathopele platinum mine in Rustenburg, about 100 kilometres from Johannesburg, workers sang and danced their protest on Thursday morning. South Africa is the world’s leading producer of platinum, and the protest is disrupting one of its major industries. “According to the economy of South Africa, they are indicating that if we don’t work obviously they will have a crisis in terms of the economy. But remember, there is a demand from workers. The workers that are working underground, they are facing a very serious challenge, whereby they don’t get enough money to survive” said Stephen Dijo, Representative of the Allied Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU). In 2012, police shot and killed 34 miners during a walkout at the nearby Lonmin platinum mine. South African officials say they will act decisively to enforce the law. The miners say they won’t return until a minimum monthly wage of 12,500 rand – around 840 euros – is agreed.

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