Wednesday, May 14, 2014

News Flash: Mine strikes in South Africa

Today, miners of South Africa's platinum mine belt returned to work (or tried?). For the past couple years, on and off, miners have been striking for hirer wages and better benefits. As negotiations are difficult and costly, it has often taken a while for any agreement to be made; and during the process, those miners who would like to return to work are often faced with lethal intimidation by those who do not want to accept the offers made in negotiations. This week alone has seen at least three people who tried to return to work killed and six others stabbed. Today, buses were arranged and police stationed around the mine, to protect those who tried to return today.

It is an extremely costly strike. Mine companies are said to have lost R14 billion in revenue (roughly $1.3 billion USD) and miners: R6 billion in wages (roughly $580K in USD). But more importantly, individuals are losing the ability to feed and provide for their families, as they face the choice between going to work and potentially being attacked (even killed) by those who refuse to accept the union's deals, or not showing up for work, receiving no salary, but protecting their own life. Many people argue that these types of events are the very things that will prevent South Africa from continuing to grow and from becoming a fully developed country.

What do you think?

Should striking be legal at all?

When does the opinion of the masses outweigh the value of one person's decision/right to make their own choice? Does it ever?

Does the right to strike enable or hinder the ability of a country to grow?

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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