Mining, Labour and the Contemporary Struggles for a Better World

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 14:15-15:45
Location: Hörsaal 31 (Main Building)
RC44 Labor Movements (host committee)

Language: English

The deaths (or killing) of the striking mineworkers in the Marikana area in South Africa in 2012 and of the mineworkers in the country’s worst-ever mining disaster in Soma, Turkey in 2014 call for renewed attention to labour in the mining industry worldwide. 
With the so-called objective of investing in new technologies and modernising mines, many governments implement policies towards privatisation of mines, which have so far resulted in mass retrenchments of workers and worsening of employment conditions, as well as the deterioration of mining health and safety conditions (particularly in coal mining) and increasing damage to the natural environment and livelihoods in mining areas (particularly in gold mining). Faced with these challenges, a switch away from the traditionally most powerful unions on the mines, to the new, more militant unions is being experienced. Moreover, an increase in the number of wildcat strikes are observed.   
In light of this, the proposed session seeks to generate a renewed discussion on labour in mining industry and to explore challenges and prospects of mineworkers and trade unions in their struggle for a better world. Papers are welcome on the following themes:

  • Trade unions and state policy on mining – nationalisation (including resource nationalism) and privatisation 
  • Trade unions and global corporate strategy 
  • Trade unions, mining health and safety 
  • Workers and violence in mining communities 
  • Mining communities, environmental movements and trade unions 
  • Women in mines – trade unions and corporate strategies
Session Organizers:
Ercüment ÇELIK, University of Freiburg, Germany and Andries BEZUIDENHOUT, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Lessons from Marikana? South Africa's Sub-Imperialism and the Rise of Blockadia
Jasper FINKELDEY, University of Essex, United Kingdom
Health and Safety after Marikana: The Impact of Union Rivalry in South African Mines
Christine BISCHOFF, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa; Paul STEWART, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa; Andries BEZUIDENHOUT, University of Pretoria, South Africa
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