Miners at four sites owned by Shanduka Resources Ltd have downed tools to demand the equalisation of pay and working conditions.
Hundreds of miners are involved in the walkout, which has hit mines in Springlake, Leeufontein, Graspan Colliery and Townlands. The indefinite strike is backed by the South African National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).
Workers at different sites have varying terms and pay, and are subject to separate bargaining arrangements. Workers at some sites do not receive allowances and bonuses which are part of the terms at other sites; for instance miners in Kwa-Zulu Natal receive a “living out” allowance that those in Mpumalanga are denied.
The strike follows a wave of workers' struggles in South Africa, including the Transnet transport workes' strike, wildcat bus workers' strikes, postal strikes, walkouts by construction workers, and the high-profile strike by match stewards during the world cup.
Shanduka Resources describes itself as “a leading African black owned and managed investment company”, and amongst its business principles are “Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment” and the promotion of “social responsibility”.