9/10/2002

ICFTU condemns killings of two mineworkers

In a letter to South African President Thabo Mbeki, the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) has vigorously condemned the killing last Monday of two mineworkers at a prominent goldmine following shots fired by the Security guards of the East Rand Proprietary Mines (ERPM).

Information received by the ICFTU indicates that thousands of miners were on strike on October 7th when ERPM security guards opened fire, killing two miners and seriously injuring 14 others.

The company had earlier unilaterally terminated its contract with the sub-contractor that supplied the labour, thus jeopardising the livelihood of thousands of families.

In the letter, the Brussels-based labour body’s General Secretary Guy Ryder, indicated that “those practices are criminal, barbaric and unacceptable, especially in a country which has ratified core ILO union rights conventions 87 and 98”, Ryder said.

Ryder urged President Mbeki to heed the trade union call and order an investigation into the incident in order to identify the persons responsible for the acts and bring them to justice. The mine is managed by mining firm Durban Roodepoort Deep (DRD).

The miners, some of whom said they received as little as 35 rand (US$3.35) a day for dangerous work deep underground, are striking over pay. (ICFTU online)

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