Gold Miners Strike Begins in South Africa

September 3, 2013

 

South Africa has one of the world's largest gold mining industries but miners are not happy with their wages and have announced plans to go on strike. According to the BBC, up to 80,000 gold miners will go on strike demanding wage increases of up 60%. Last year the platinum industry experienced a worker's strike that the country is still recovering from. Estimates claim the strike could cost South Africa more than $30 million per day in lost output.

 

In 1970 South Africa was responsible for 68% of gold output. Today that number has fallen to 6% of world production but gold mining is still the most important industry in the African nation. Mine owners are concerned that a strike will lead to mines closing and the layoff of thousands of workers.

 

South African president, Jacob Zuma, is urging both sides to find a mutually beneficial solution. The strike is being supported by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), a union that represents roughly 64% of South Africa's 120,000 gold miners.

 

Strikes in South Africa have been crippling and violent. Last year's platinum strike resulted in the death of 34 miners when police opened fire on strikers. Currently, strikes in vehicle manufacturing and construction are having a negative impact on the South African economy.