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IndustriALL demands justice for South African miners at Anglo American

24 April, 2014IndustriALL Global Union joins the National Union of Mineworkers at the Anglo American annual general meeting to demand justice for South African Miners that suffer from the deadly respiratory disease, silicosis, contracted while working in the company’s South African gold mines.

Silicosis is a deadly respiratory disease that has a latency period of between 15 and 20 years. Anglo American refuses to pay compensation to these affected miners, denying that it is responsible for their suffering. It is fighting a litigation lawsuit brought against it by Leigh Day, a British based law firm, on behalf of affected mine workers. 

The result of Anglo American challenging the lawsuit is that the affected mine workers continue to die without the compensation due to them and their families. For the National Union of Mineworkers and IndustriALL Global Union, this is not a legal battle against Anglo American, but a moral battle whereby the multinational must change its behaviour regarding the health and safety of its employees worldwide. 

The National Union of Mineworkers’ President, Senzeni Zokwana, the National Chairperson for Health and Safety, Peter Bailey, and Glen Mpufane, IndustriALL Global Union’s Mining Director will once again raise the demand for compensation at the company’s AGM as they did in the forum last year.

IndustriALL general secretary Jyrki Raina stated:

It is unconscionable for Anglo American plc and its shareholders to continue to deny compensation for these mine workers and their families.

Senzeni Zokwana castigated the behaviour of Anglo American as running contrary to its publicly stated values of safety, care and respect, integrity and accountability when he said:

Thousands of ex gold miners have already died from lung disease and thousands more have had their lives destroyed. Unless Anglo American acts now, thousands more will die without the healthcare, compensation and support they deserve.

Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA) and the London Mining Network (LMN) who are coordinating solidarity actions and support for this cause, have organized a series of actions in support of the demand. These actions include a public meeting for South African Miners, a protest action for justice to be held outside the AGM and an Early Day Motion 1260 in parliament in support of decent compensation, testing and healthcare for ex gold miners with silicosis.