South African police have fired tear gas to disperse a group of striking coal mine workers a day after two strikers were fatally shot by security guards.
The violence broke out on Thursday after the police clashed with some 200 workers who were blocking the road from Dundee to Dannhauser mines in the southeastern KwaZulu-Natal Province, AFP quoted a local police spokesman as saying.
No injuries occurred during the clashes at the coal mines owned by Canada’s Forbes Coal, the official said. On Wednesday, two people were killed when security guards opened fire on strikers who tried to break into a mine armory.
Forbes Coal miners went on a strike two weeks ago, forcing the management to suspend operations at the facility over safety considerations. The workers are demanding a more than 100 percent pay rise to take their basic monthly salary to USD 810 as well as a six-month paid maternity leave for female employees.
South Africa has been hit by pervasive walkouts by miners in recent months while violent protests across the country have claimed at least 50 lives. The protests erupted with a strike at platinum giant Lonmin’s Marikana mine, triggering similar stoppages at much of South Africa’s key mining industry.
The strikes have taken a heavy toll on the continent’s wealthiest economy, with the trade deficit sharply rising in September due to shrinking export of metals and other mining products.
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