In South Africa, thousands of mineworkers have embarked on industrial action that began with a deadly pay strike by platinum workers. They've agreed a wage deal with their management, this week, but the labor unrest is spreading to other platinum and gold mines in an industry that's the engine of South Africa's economy. NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton discusses the repercussions with host Scott Simon.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.
Mine workers in South Africa face a deadline tomorrow to return to work following a deadly dispute over pay and conditions. Violence erupted last month at the world's third-largest platinum mine. Thirty-four miners were shot dead in a confrontation with police. Striking miners are refusing to go back to work until their demands are met. And there are concerns about labor unrest, which has spread to other parts of the country's lucrative mining industry.
South Africa's mining industry is under heavy scrutiny after 44 people died during protests at a platinum mine near Johannesburg. Now, the industry is facing challenges on another front: Lawyers have filed a class-action lawsuit against three of the country's biggest gold mining companies.
They're suing on behalf of miners who worked during the apartheid era and now have lung disease.
A settlement in the case — and another like it — could reach into the billions of dollars.