South Africa mine fires 1,400 striking workers

Striking mine workers gather outside the Anglo American Mine on Friday, October 5 in Rustenburg, South Africa.

Story highlights

  • Gold One fires 1,400 workers at a mine near Johannesburg
  • A court has ruled the October 1 walkout illegal
  • It's the latest in a wave of strikes and unrest hitting South Africa's biggest industry

South African mining company Gold One has fired more than 1,400 miners who have been on strike for more than a week, the company announced Tuesday.

The workers at the Ezulwini mine outside Johannesburg were dismissed after what the company called "appropriate disciplinary procedures" and a court's declaration that the strike was illegal. Those fired make up about three-quarters of the 1,900 miners at the facility and will have a chance to appeal their dismissals, Gold One reported.

It's the latest twist in a wave of sometimes-violent labor unrest that has wracked South Africa's mining sector -- the country's biggest industry -- for nearly two months. Another company, Anglo-American Platinum, fired about 12,000 striking workers who declined to attend disciplinary hearings last week after a three-week walkout.

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Four people were wounded during clashes between security officers and striking workers at another Gold One mine in September. And police opened fire on strikers Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine in August, killing killing 34 workers and wounding dozens more.

The strike at the Ezulwini facility started October 1. Police have a "strong presence" there to prevent violence, Gold One said in a written statement Tuesday.

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