USW Statement on Lonmin shootings in South Africa

The United Steelworkers expresses outrage at the police attack on striking workers at the Lonmin platinum mine in South Africa on August 16 that left 34 dead and 78 wounded.

The USW condemns Lonmin for provoking this conflict by ignoring the established collective bargaining agreement with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and supporting a company union.  Lonmin, Implats and the Chamber of Mines must be held accountable for these anti-union tactics which constitute a concerted attack on the NUM and on collective bargaining rights guaranteed by ILO Convention 98.

The USW stands in solidarity with the NUM – which has supported our members in disputes with Vale, Rio Tinto, Grupo Mexico and other multinational mining companies – in its demands for justice for the victims and fair compensation for their families, punishment for the perpetrators, and respect for law and order including the collective bargaining process. We offer our condolences to the victims’ families.

We welcome the inquiry that has been launched by the South African government and look forward to its recommendations.