Over 80,000 South African gold miners launched a strike Tuesday against what union officials call “slave wages” and employer “arrogance,” bringing one of the country’s key industries to a screeching halt.
The AMC government-allied National Union of Miners, which represents 64 percent of the approximately 120,000 gold miners in South Africa, declared the strike after rejecting a 6.5 percent wage increase per month, which the union slams as a pittance compared with the exorbitant bonuses bosses reward themselves. The union is demanding pay increases of 60 to 100 percent to bring their pay to a living wage in a country beset with severe wealth inequality.
“The pay that we are asking for is not high. It is normal and reasonable,” said NUM spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka. “The strike will carry on indefinitely until our demands are met,” Seshoka added.