Mining and construction workers demand safety

SA mining, construction and energy workers downed tools on a day in October 2011 to honour colleagues who had died at work, and to demand workplace safety.

National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said the day was intended to mourn workers who had died in incidents in these high risk sectors, and to demand more occupational health and safety measures.

Workers marched to employer offices at Chamber of Mines, Eskom, and SA Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors, as well as to state health and safety authorities and inspectors, at Department of Labour (DOL) and Department of Mineral Resources (DMR), to hand over demands.

Workers cited “an increasing number of deaths in these industries… Thousands are injured every year. Over 50 workers are electrocuted every six months … many die in construction due to many factors, including poor scaffolding.”

Chamber of Mines’ acting CE Frans Barker said “management and workers should be seen to take a shared and cooperative responsibility for health and safety at work.

IMAGE; SA National Union of Mineworkers logo shows a protesting mine worker. Industrial action of 2011 focussed on health and safety is rare, the more so since cosntruction and energy workers are in solidarity on this issue, while not linked to pay and other nore regular industrial relations issues.

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