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Afrique du sud : Xstrata must stop criminalising workers struggles for a living wage by unleashing police

D 2 décembre 2011     H 05:06     A NUMSA     C 0 messages

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) representing militant and agitated 4000 workers working at Xstrata Alloys’ Boshoek, Rustenburg and Wonderkop have been on a strike action since 22 October 2011. The strike action is now entering its fourth-week, and there is no willingness or commitment from Xstrata to resolve the impasse.

Today, Tuesday 15 November 2011, a throng of 3000 workers marched through the streets of South Africa’s playing-ground for the filthy rich, Melrose Arch, to hand-over a Memorandum of Demands to the Xstrata ruling oligarchy to concede to workers demands for harmonization of wages and benefits. The workers showed Xstrata management and the public that workers are united and they are prepared to forge ahead until their demands are met.

This peaceful demonstration at Melrose Arch, a place built over hard-earned pension surplus of workers, was led by NUMSA President Comrade Cedric Gina and COSATU’s 2nd Deputy President Comrade Zingiswa Losi.

The march was part of organisational strategy to exert pressure or extricating our members from the poverty wages given the deepening failures of capitalism and neoliberal policies to resolve the persisting realities of poverty, hunger, racialised underdevelopment and rising cost of basic necessities such as food, health-care, education, transport, housing and electricity.

The demands of Xstrata Alloys’ Boshoek and Wonderkop smelters workers are located within the broader plight and suffering of workers as evidenced by jobless growth and high inflation targeting, widening gap between the lowest paid worker and senior manager or executive.

The Xstrata Alloys’ Boshoek and Wonderkop workers demands are about the equal distribution of income at the point of production. These workers refuse to be subjected to unequal wages for equal work in the midst of huge profit margins being made by Xstrata Alloys’ to the benefits of the foreign and imperialist Stock Markets in Europe and New York.

The workers demands are simple and affordable. Workers are demanding a 10% wage increase, and harmonization of wages within Xstrata Alloys.

These demands by workers are consistent with the Freedom Charter, the over-arching policy document of our revolutionary ANC which called for equal pay for equal work ; and an end of exploitation of one man by another. No amount of provocation and brutal force unleashed by police against our striking members.

We call on the employers to accede to these demands, as opposed to unleashing men and women in blue uniforms to silent popular dissent for a living wage and sustainable livelihoods for all. Workers struggles or rights should not be muzzled by state organs, particularly by the police to protect narrow and self-centered accumulation interests of the exploiters of our people.

We call on Xstrata to respond to our demands within 48hours and failure to do so, we are prepared to intensify our organisational machinery by calling on the Minister of Minerals to terminate Xstrata’s license for undermining the key demands of workers, who happen to be the strong constituency base of the ruling ANC.