Mining workers

Former Massey CEO Don Blankenship pleads not guilty to updated charges

By Clement Daly, 26 March 2015

It is nearly five years since the April 2010 explosion at Upper Big Branch killed 29 West Virginia miners in the worst US mine disaster in nearly four decades.

West Virginia mine roof collapse kills one worker, injures two

By Evan Blake, 10 March 2015

The McElroy Mine, owned by the Murray Energy Corporation, has already received 189 citations from the US Mine Safety and Health Administration so far this year.

The phony internationalism of the United Steelworkers

A warning to US oil workers on South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers

By Thabo Seseane Jr., 10 March 2015

Last month’s tour of Houston picket lines by officials from South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers underscored the anti-working class character of the United Steelworkers.

South African finance minister raises income tax, fuel and electricity levies

By Thabo Seseane Jr., 3 March 2015

South African Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) announced the measures in his first full budget speech since taking office last year.

South African MP warned against investigating Russia-South Africa spy satellite

By Thabo Seseane Jr., 2 March 2015

The Spy Cables describe Johannesburg as the “El Dorado of espionage.”

Coal mine closures and layoffs continue throughout US

By Clement Daly, 13 January 2015

The wave of mine closures and layoffs in the US coal industry continued throughout the second half of 2014.

Kentucky coal miner killed at Patriot mine

By Clement Daly, 19 December 2014

Kentucky coal miner Eli Eldridge, who was killed at Patriot’s Highland No. 9 mine, is the 15th coal miner fatally injured this year.

Union seeks to smother opposition to unsafe conditions in West Virginia mines

By Clement Daly, 28 November 2014

The United Mine Workers of America is working with Patriot Coal and the courts to suppress the opposition of miners, which erupted in a strike last month over unsafe conditions.

Australian mining services workers reject 25 percent pay cut

By Declan O’Malley and Mike Head, 22 November 2014

Hastings Deering’s ultimatum points to an intensification of the assault against jobs and conditions in the mining industry.

Delinquent US mines allowed to continue dangerous operations

By Clement Daly, 19 November 2014

Nearly $70 million in delinquent fines are owed by 2,700 mining companies throughout the US.

Australian mining fatalities on the rise

By Terry Cook, 10 November 2014

Amid the collapse of the mining boom, safety is being further eroded in one of the country’s most dangerous industries.

Cronyism paralyses South African state-owned enterprises

By Thabo Seseane Jr., 6 November 2014

An acrimonious strike has crippled the South African Post Office for 12 weeks.

South Africa metalworkers union announces formation of new party

By Thabo Seseane Jr., 30 October 2014

Militant strikes by workers have earned South Africa the pejorative title of “protest capital of the world.”

Wyoming coal miner killed

By Naomi Spencer, 22 October 2014

The death at Peabody Energy’s North Antelope Rochelle Mine was the 13th US coal mining fatality this year

Miners Shot Down: Documentary about the 2012 Marikana massacre

By Derek Bell and Martin Kreickenbaum, 1 October 2014

The film deals with the atrocity against mine workers carried out by the ANC government in South Africa, in cooperation with trade unions and company management.

Black lung disease hits highest levels in four decades

By Clement Daly, 29 September 2014

The most severe form of black lung, a preventable disease resulting from insufficient ventilation in coalmines, has increased tenfold over fifteen years.

South African trade union federation promotes illusions in Castroism

Part Two

By Thabo Seseane Jr., 12 September 2014

This is the conclusion of a two-part article on the promotion of Castroism by South Africa’s trade unions.

South African trade union federation promotes illusions in Castroism

Part one

By Thabo Seseane Jr., 11 September 2014

This is the first of a two-part article on the promotion of Castroism by the Congress of South African Trade Unions.

Wave of layoffs sweeps North American coal industry

By Clement Daly, 22 August 2014

Alpha Natural Resources plans to lay off approximately 1,100 coal miners and support staff at 11 affiliated coal mining operations in southern West Virginia by mid-October.

Two years on, Marikana massacre continues to radicalise South African workers

By Thabo Seseane Jr., 19 August 2014

Workers’ resolve is hardening, even as the unions manoeuvre for paltry wage increases.

Mine and car job cuts drive up Australia’s unemployment

By Mike Head, 15 July 2014

Falling commodity prices and restructuring by mining and auto companies are expected to send the jobless rate even higher.

South African platinum miners return to work

By Chris Marsden and Barry Mason, 27 June 2014

The five-month strike of 70,000 South African platinum miners is over following the acceptance of a deal by the Association of Miners and Construction Union.

Australian mining companies push for suppression of port workers’ dispute

By Joe Lopez, 10 June 2014

Maritime workers’ disputes in the Pilbara mining region are seen by corporate elites as test cases for powers to block industrial action.

New US coal dust standards leave thousands of miners at risk for black lung

By Clement Daly, 2 June 2014

The Obama administration has unveiled new respirable dust standards for the nation’s coal mines.

South African mineral resources minister seeks end to 18-week platinum miners strike

By Thabo Seseane Jr., 31 May 2014

Ngoako Ramatlhodi has set up a team composed of personnel from his department, the Department of Labour and the Treasury in an attempt to ease the concerns of global investors.

South African miners speak: “We are striking so our children don’t also end up with nothing”

By our reporters, 29 May 2014

The World Socialist Web Site conducted an interview with two South African miners.

South Africa: Lonmin fails to break 16-week platinum strike

By Thabo Seseane Jr., 17 May 2014

The African National Congress government will now come under increasing pressure from international and domestic capital to find other means of breaking the strike.

West Virginia mine had appalling safety record

By Clement Daly, 16 May 2014

The West Virginia mine where two miners died earlier this week had an appalling safety record with hundreds of violations and injuries.

Illinois coal miner killed on the job

By Naomi Spencer, 16 May 2014

The death of an Illinois miner Wednesday marks the sixth US coal mine fatality of the year, and the third in as many days.

Two West Virginia coal miners killed in roof collapse

By Naomi Spencer, 14 May 2014

Two miners were killed at a mine owned by Patriot Coal Monday night after the collapse of a roof and wall.

Workers reject employers’ offer in South African platinum mining strike

By Thabo Seseane Jr., 7 May 2014

The longest labour dispute since the end of apartheid is set to overshadow the May 7 general election touted as a celebration of 20 years of majority rule.

Australia: Plunging coal prices herald new mine closures and job cuts

By Terry Cook, 5 May 2014

Over the past two years, coal producers have already slashed 12,000 jobs, including 8,000 in Queensland alone.

Australia: Two miners crushed to death in underground wall collapse

By Terry Cook, 29 April 2014

The two miners were killed when a catastrophic rock burst buried their continuous mining machine under tonnes of coal.

Looming job cuts in South African platinum strike

By Thabo Seseane Jr., 16 April 2014

South Africa’s ruling elite hope to utilise the long-running strike in the platinum mines to push through a sweeping “restructuring” of the industry.

South Africa’s platinum strike in its 10th week

By Thabo Seseane Jr, 10 April 2014

Some 70,000 members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union have been on strike at the three largest platinum producers since January 23.

Four years since the Upper Big Branch mine disaster

By Clement Daly, 5 April 2014

Saturday marks the fourth anniversary of the Upper Big Branch mine tragedy in Montcoal, West Virginia, when a massive explosion ripped through the Massey Energy-owned mine, killing 29 coal miners.

South African police evidence in tatters as Marikana Commission enters phase two

By Thabo Seseane Jr., 4 April 2014

At the Farlam Inquiry into the police murder of 34 striking miners in Marikana, evidence was heard that the victims were surrendering when they were killed.

National Union of Mineworkers presses for end of 10-week platinum strike in South Africa

By Thabo Seseane Jr, 3 April 2014

Mine owners are holding the threat of mechanisation and mass layoffs over the heads of the strikers.

Australia: Mounting anger over coal mine fire health crisis

By Daniel Saul, 22 March 2014

The official response underscored the utter contempt for working class communities like Morwell and neighbouring towns.

The “left” posturing of South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters

By Thabo Seseane Jr., 20 March 2014

The aptitude for horse-trading that Julius Malema of the Economic Freedom Fighters displays, the willingness to sit around a table and cut deals, is the hallmark of a self-seeking member of the elite.

North West police commissioner appears before inquiry into Marikana massacre

By Thabo Seseane Jr., 27 February 2014

Evidence belies the testimony of Police Commissioner Zukiswa Mbombo that the massacre at the Lonmin mine in 2012 was not a premeditated bloodbath.

Freed “illegal” miners face imprisonment and deportation in South Africa

By Thabo Seseane Jr., 24 February 2014

Abandoned mines around Johannesburg, often improperly secured by mining companies, are a magnet for laid-off workers, and the sites of numerous fatalities.

South African unions vie for control of militant workers

Part two

By Thabo Seseane Jr., 21 February 2014

This is the conclusion of a two-part comment on the manoeuvres of South Africa’s trade unions to contain growing militancy in the working class. Part one was posted February 20.

West Virginia law firm accused of “cutthroat approach” to fighting black lung claims

By Clement Daly, 20 February 2014

Numerous reports and studies have documented the alarming resurgence of black lung throughout the coal mining industry.

South African unions vie for control of militant workers

Part one

By Thabo Seseane Jr., 20 February 2014

This is first in a two-part comment on the manoeuvres of South Africa’s trade unions to contain the growth of militancy in the working class.

US university hospital suspends its black lung unit

By Clement Daly, 13 January 2014

A group of radiologists at Johns Hopkins University Hospital has been instrumental in preventing thousands of coal miners from receiving black lung benefits.

Factional warfare grips Congress of South African Trade Unions

By Thabo Seseane Jr., 30 December 2013

The showdown between different elements in COSATU is bound up with factionalism among the elite.

Two miners killed in Australian copper mine

By Terry Cook, 13 December 2013

The tragic deaths of two miners in Tasmania this week brings to four the number of Australian mine fatalities in just three weeks.

Mandela and the South African Communist Party

By Bill Van Auken, 12 December 2013

The revelation that Nelson Mandela was a member of the South African Communist Party’s central committee has been passed over in near universal silence by the corporate media.

Why imperialism mourns Mandela

By Bill Van Auken, 7 December 2013

Governments that once denounced Nelson Mandela as a “terrorist” and supported the Apartheid regime that sentenced him to life imprisonment now hail him as a global icon of peace and reconciliation.

On-the-job accident kills Ohio coal miner

By Naomi Spencer, 5 December 2013

The death of Ohio miner Ryan Lashley brings to 20 the number of US coal miners killed on the job this year.

Two dead, 20 injured in Colorado mining accident

By Nick Barrickman, 19 November 2013

The event marks the worst mine-related accident in the state since 1981, when an explosion claimed the lives of 15 workers.

Coal miner killed in southern Illinois

By Naomi Spencer, 9 November 2013

A coal miner was crushed in a wall collapse Monday, bringing to 19 the number of US miners killed on the job this year.

Four coal miners killed during government shutdown

By Clement Daly, 24 October 2013

Four coal miners were killed in separate incidents during the 16-day shutdown of the US government, as the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) operated with less than half its staff.

Australia: Mining giant Peabody locks out workforce

By Terry Cook, 24 October 2013

The lock-out of Helensburgh miners is part of a broader offensive by employers, in collaboration with the unions, that has already led to wage-cutting deals at General Motors Holden and the Beenleigh meat works.

US miners’ union reaches settlement with Patriot Coal and Peabody Energy

By Clement Daly, 15 October 2013

The United Mine Workers announced that it reached a “global settlement” with Patriot Coal and Peabody Energy.

South Africa’s police concealed evidence, lied to cover up Marikana massacre

By Chris Marsden, 28 September 2013

South African police face accusations this week at the Marikana Commission of Inquiry that they doctored and concealed evidence in order to whitewash their August 2012 massacre of striking miners.

Union shuts down South African gold miners’ strike after less than 3 days

By Thomas Gaist, 7 September 2013

The National Union of Mineworkers accepted a small wage increase offered by the bosses, sending miners back to work.

Australia: Glencore Xstrata shuts coal mine to scrap working conditions

By Terry Cook, 7 September 2013

The Australian Financial Review has identified the Collinsville dispute as a “landmark workplace struggle.”

30,000 South African autoworkers strike over wages and benefits

By Andrea Peters, 22 August 2013

Entering the fourth day of their nationwide strike, South African autoworkers are demanding a 14 percent wage increase.

UMW pushes through new concessions contract with Patriot Coal

By Clement Daly, 21 August 2013

UMW members in West Virginia and Kentucky approved a new contract with bankrupt Patriot Coal, which fails to secure funding for retiree health care

India: NLC workers angered by sell-out of their anti-privatisation strike

By Arun Kumar, Sasi Kumar and Moses Rajkumar, 26 July 2013

There is growing discontent among Neyveli Lignite Corporation workers over the unions’ shutting down of their strike against the Indian government’s plans to privatise the highly-profitable coal-mining and power-generation company.

The United Mine Workers and the Patriot Coal bankruptcy

By Clement Daly, 16 July 2013

The UMW bureaucracy has responded to the historic assault on the living standards of miners with a series of impotent protests.

South African platinum miners launch wildcat strikes at Amplats sites

By Thomas Gaist, 9 July 2013

Thousands of miners went on strike Sunday evening in a continuation of months of workers’ struggles against multinational corporations and the ANC government.

South African miners battle with police as unions negotiate with mine bosses

By Thomas Gaist, 18 June 2013

Fierce clashes broke out between police forces and platinum miners at an Amplats site in Rustenburg.

ANC, South African mining companies seek to crush new round of strikes

By Thomas Gaist, 7 June 2013

With militancy on the rise among miners, South Africa’s unions and ruling elite are preparing renewed mass repression against the working class.

Patriot Coal bankruptcy approved, thousands of retirees to lose health care

By Clement Daly, 4 June 2013

Patriot Coal has been granted permission to tear up its collective bargaining agreements with the United Mine Workers and escape its obligations to provide health care to its retirees.

New strike wave spreads across South Africa’s mines

By Thomas Gaist, 1 June 2013

Three wildcat strikes broke this week in South African mines, as a new wave of militant action spreads across the country.

Australian coal loader workers strike to defend conditions

By Terry Cook, 29 May 2013

The dispute comes amid a wider restructuring within the Australian coal industry, triggered by falling demand in Asia.

Security forces fire rubber bullets at striking South African miners

By Thomas Gaist, 24 May 2013

Police fired volleys of rubber bullets at striking South African miners at a mine owned by Lanxess Chrome Mining Ltd on Tuesday, near the city of Rustenburg.

South African miners mount new wave of wildcat strikes

By Thomas Gaist, 17 May 2013

In the second wildcat strike to break this week, miners at Amplat refused to go underground Thursday evening.

Three years since West Virginia’s Upper Big Branch mine disaster

Sequester cuts pose new threat to US mine safety

By Kate Randall, 2 April 2013

Three years after the West Virginia tragedy, cuts threaten to further undermine mine safety, inevitably leading to more deaths.

Fifth West Virginia miner killed in as many weeks

By Naomi Spencer, 19 March 2013

The latest fatality comes in the wake of a statewide “safety standdown” called by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and the eruption of a fire in another mine.

WSWS launches new Afrikaans language section

14 March 2013

Afrikaans is the third most common home language in South Africa and is widely spoken and understood as a second or third language.

Police murder in South Africa

By Chris Marsden, 9 March 2013

Nine South African police officers have been charged with the murder of taxi driver Mido Macia.

South African police murder Mozambican taxi driver

By Mike Jones, 5 March 2013

Opposition grows to the killing of 27-year-old taxi driver, Mido Macia, by South African police on February 27.

Unrest breaks out again in South Africa’s mining sector

By Chris Marsden, 23 February 2013

The 18 February events could easily have escalated into a second Marikana massacre, when police killed 34 striking miners in August of 2012.

Another West Virginia coal miner killed

By Naomi Spencer, 21 February 2013

A second miner has been killed in the same mine where a fatal accident occurred just two weeks ago.

US coal companies shed 7,700 jobs in 2012

By Clement Daly, 20 February 2013

US coal mining jobs dropped by 8.5 percent last year.

Two more US coal miners killed

By Clement Daly, 19 February 2013

Two more US coal miners were killed last week, bringing the nation’s coal mining fatalities to five this year.

Two West Virginia coal miners killed

By Clement Daly, 13 February 2013

Two West Virginia coal miners were killed in as many days last week, bringing the nation’s coal mine fatalities to three this year.

COSATU calls off farm workers strike in South Africa

By Joshua Lumet, 30 January 2013

The strike, which has led to the death of at least three workers, was ended last week pending a government announcement on a new minimum wage.

Harlan, Kentucky coal truck drivers take independent strike action

By Naomi Spencer, 23 January 2013

Coal truck drivers at two Harlan, Kentucky mines initiated a strike over non-payment of wages.

African National Congress anoints the butchers of Marikana

By Chris Marsden, 24 December 2012

The election of Zuma and Ramaphosa is an endorsement of the massacre at Marikana and the ensuing brutal assault on striking miners.

Patriot Coal to end mountaintop removal mining in West Virginia

By Clement Daly, 11 December 2012

Patriot Coal has announced it will phase out its mountaintop removal coal mining operations as part of a $440 million settlement with environmental groups.

Peabody closes Illinois mine after miner’s death, laying off 400

By Clement Daly, 10 December 2012

St. Louis-based Peabody Energy has announced it will permanently close its Willow Lake Mine in southern Illinois, laying off 400 miners after a miner was crushed to death last month.

Trade unions shut down South African farm workers strike

By Iqra Qalam and Jashua Lumet, 8 December 2012

The Congress of South African Trade Unions has called off a strike in the Western Cape Province in a bid to contain growing anger and resistance among farm workers.

South African farm workers’ strike spreads

By Joshua Lumet and Iqra Qalam, 21 November 2012

The three-week-long strike by farm workers in the fertile farmlands of the Boland in South Africa has now spread to 24 different areas and has led to further violent clashes with police.

Thousands of miners to lose health care, pensions in Patriot Coal bankruptcy

By Clement Daly, 21 November 2012

Patriot Coal is seeking to discharge health care and pension obligations for more than 22,000 miners through bankruptcy.

Murray Energy lays off 160 miners in response to Obama’s reelection

By Clement Daly, 20 November 2012

Murray Energy, the largest privately owned coal mining company in the US, announced layoffs in response to the so-called “war on coal.”

South African farm workers’ strikes inspired by events at Marikana

By Joshua Lumet and Iqra Qalam, 16 November 2012

Militant struggles among South Africa’s impoverished workers have spread to the Western Cape province’s farms, following on months of upheavals in the mining industry.

Charges of evidence tampering at South African mine massacre inquiry

By Julie Hyland, 12 November 2012

The inquiry into the South African police massacre of striking miners at Marikana heard evidence that police tampered with the scene to justify the killings.

New Zealand mine disaster inquiry whitewashes government

By Tom Peters, 10 November 2012

The disaster was the outcome of the decades-long assault on the jobs, conditions and rights of workers aimed at boosting “international competitiveness.”

Unions collude in repression as South Africa’s strike wave ebbs

By Chris Marsden, 5 November 2012

The South African Police Service is waging a brutal campaign of intimidation facilitated by the suffocation of strikes in the mining sector by the COSATU.

Striking South African miners oppose rally called by official unions

By Julie Hyland, 29 October 2012

Saturday’s rally by South Africa’s COSATU union federation and the National Union of Mineworkers only exposed the hostility of broad masses of workers toward the official unions.

South Africa's unions use mass sackings and murder to suppress miners

By Chris Marsden, 26 October 2012

Mass sackings, police intimidation and brutality are being employed in an effort to bring the wave of strikes in South Africa’s mines to a close.

Strike leaders arrested following testimony before Marikana massacre inquiry

By Chris Marsden, 26 October 2012

Four miners who testified Tuesday before the Farlam Commission into the Marikana massacre were immediately arrested by police. They are to be charged with murder.

South African miners defy repression

By Chris Marsden, 20 October 2012

Tens of thousands of South African workers remain in struggle and a new strike by platinum miners at Lonmin’s operation in Marikana delivered a blow to efforts to stem the working class upsurge.

President Zuma calls on trade unions, state forces to end South Africa’s strike wave

By Chris Marsden, 20 October 2012

The main instruments of Zuma and the African National Congress for suppressing the mass strike movement are the Congress of South African Trade Unions and its affiliate, the National Union of Mineworkers.

Strikes continue in South Africa amid deepening repression

By Robert Stevens, 15 October 2012

Tens of thousands of South Africa miners remain on strike in wildcat action, following a breakdown in talks between trade unions and management.