The Marikana Miners have achieved an unprecedented victory for workers in South Africa. Lonmin has agreed to a 22% pay raise for the miners. This is a massive development for South African workers. The policies of Apartheid are alive and well for the vast majority of South African workers and this victory just might signal a seismic shift in the labor/capital power structure that exists today in South Africa. During the course of this strike 45 people died during clashes with police and mine security personnel. The strike began on August 10 and spread to other mines in the country.
The mining industry is already blasting this deal as unrealistic, unworkable and unacceptable. The South African mining industry from diamond to gold is used to having the money flow in one direction - from the bottom to the top. South Africa is a country with enormous mineral wealth. In 2011 SA was responsible for the production of 8% of the world's gold, approximately 75% of the world's platinum and more than 25% of the world's chromium. It is time for the wealth of the country to be shared with those who help make it possible. This could be the beginning of real labor reform in South Africa. Progressives all around the globe should be celebrating with the Marikana workers.