General strike now for R12 500 victory! Step up and unite the struggle to win!

Gold mine workers united during the 2012 strike.

Gold mine workers united during the 2012 strike.

The Workers and Socialist Party (WASP) supports the strike for a living wage of R12 500 a month. We salute the willingness to fight and sacrifice shown over more than three months of strike action. But determination alone does not guarantee victory. To defeat the mining bosses the action needs to be stepped up! WASP calls on AMCU and on all mineworkers to mobilise the active support of all unions in mining as well as in all other sectors with the call for a general strike for R12 500! Support from  working class communities must also be rallied.

It’s a lie that R12 500 is ‘not affordable’. SA’s mineral wealth is estimated to R25 trillion! According to the Labour Research Service, the average annual profit of just nine of the major mining companies was R39 billion in 2011 – enough to pay each mineworker R88 000 a month, or to increase the mining workforce times four, creating jobs for 2.3 million workers, on R12 500 a month. The same year the average remuneration of mining CEOs was R20,2 million. It would take the typical mineworker 390 years to earn what his/her boss earns in one year.

The real obstacle to a living wage is capitalism – the private ownership of the means of production and the rule of ‘the market’ and its hunger for profits. Amplats, for example, promises its shareholders a 39% profit margin. It is below this level they claim operations become ‘unviable’. The struggle for a living wage must therefore be linked to the struggle for the nationalisation of the whole mining industry as part of the overthrow of the capitalist system and the creation of a socialist society. This means uniting workers, poor communities and -youth in struggle for the take-over of the mines and other big business under democratic worker and community control. WASP was created by mineworkers’ strike committees and the Democratic Socialist Movement after the strike for R12 500 in 2012 to take these struggles forward.

WASP stands for building strong, worker-controlled and fighting trade unions. We do not support the ‘WAU’, which we believe is a creation of the bosses and the government to divide and confuse workers. We have concerns over issues such as corruption, democratic workers’ control and fighting strategy when it comes to the AMCU leadership but we urge all AMCU members to stay inside AMCU and organise to investigate and correct any such wrongs.

WASP is contesting the election on May 7. Our candidates are mineworkers, working and unemployed activists. If elected, all WASP MPs will continue to live on workers’ wages instead of the R900 000/ year that all other party MPs pocket.

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