A strike fund from trade unions should be a prerequisite for striking miners to maintain their basic living conditions, according to the dean of humanities at the University of Cape Town, Prof Sakhela Buhlungu.
“Levels of desperation kick in immediately after going on strike,” said Buhlungu. He emphasised the plight of mine workers who bear the repercussions of not earning salaries for the duration of a strike.
Buhlungu was one of three panelists speaking at at panel discussion hosted on the Marikana commission of inquiry held at Wits on Monday afternoon. Family members of the victims of Marikana were also present at the panel discussion.
The panel was the first of a three-part seminar, held by the Marikana commission. Open to public for the first time since investigations into the deaths of 34 Lonmin miners in August 2012 began, the seminar included members of the commission and other parties involved.
Department of labour spokesperson Ian Macum said many workers were dissatisfied.
[pullquote]The worrying trend in the post-Marikana era is that there has no been greater consensus that the law does not offer solutions to bypassing situations[/pullquote]
“Dissatisfaction can have a number of causes, which thread the problems that face trade unions”, said Macun.
Subcontracted workers enjoy substandard conditions at the mines, which triggers discontent among workers. However, full-time workers also endure extreme conditions but for lesser pay, Macun suggested
The rivalry between the National Union of Mineworkers and Association of Mineworkers Construction Union shows that the unions have been unsuccessful in maintaining confidence among their workers, suggested Macun.
He said the prevalence of dissent results in conflict among trade unions and contributes to the loss of law and order.
The panelists said the issues of workers bypassing the trade unions showed the flaws that are present in the system.
“The worrying trend in the post-Marikana era is that there has no been greater consensus that the law does not offer solutions to bypassing situations,” said Macun.
On April 9, the commission will host its second seminar focusing on labour migrancy, and its third will be hosted on April 16, focusing on strike violence.