Coal and gold production was shut down in three more South African mines on Tuesday as the mine strikes that have rocked the country for over a month continue to spread. These latest strikes were largely inspired by the workers at the Marikana platinum mine, who ultimately received a sizable pay raise after a month-long struggle.South African authorities are now desperately scrambling to find some agreement between the two parties, as the Wall Street Journal reports:
To tackle the spreading unrest, the Chamber of Mines, unions and some representatives from the departments of minerals and labor have been meeting to try to resolve the wage demands. The strikes have cut vital revenue to government budgets, which rely heavily on taxes from the mining sector.“Discussions are being held with representative trade unions on an industrywide basis through the Chamber of Mines. No formal demands have yet been presented to management by the striking workers,” AngloGold said.
The real damage these strikes are causing isn’t to the profitability of South African mining companies, but to relations between the government, miners’ unions, and the masses of dissatisfied, often unemployed young people who are tired of being ignored.