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October 09, 2012

More South African Miners Fired After Strikes

by VOA News

Nearly 3,600 South African mineworkers were fired Tuesday as labor unrest continues to roil the country's mining industry.

Atlatsa Resources said it had dismissed 2,160 workers who have been striking at its Bokoni platinum mines since October 1. It said employees have until the end of the day Wednesday to appeal.

Earlier, Gold One International said it fired more than 1,400 workers at its Ezulwini operation southwest of Johannesburg. Workers there also went on strike October 1.

South African courts had declared both strikes illegal.

On Friday, mining giant Anglo American Platinum fired 12,000 workers at its mine in Rustenberg after a three-week wildcat strike.

The strikes and others were sparked by a violent strike at the Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana township. Clashes there, including a police shooting, killed 46 people, but workers eventually received a pay raise of more than 20 percent.

Workers at other mines now are demanding similar hikes in pay.

Mining companies, which are losing tens of millions of dollars because of the strikes, have urged miners to negotiate through their unions instead of simply walking off the job.

South Africa's National Union of Mineworkers has urged the companies not to fire the striking workers, saying that will inflame the situation.