Hoffa Statement On Striking South African Miner Massacre
The following is a statement by Jim Hoffa, General President of the Teamsters Union:
The killing of at least 35 striking South African miners is a shocking story and the Teamsters Union is gravely concerned about the fallout.
Protests between striking workers and management at the Marikana platinum mine came to a head yesterday when police opened fire on the strikers, killing at least 34 and wounding 78. Adding insult to injury, police then arrested hundreds of strikers who managed to survive the massacre.
The Teamsters Union condemns all violence between police and striking workers at the Marikana platinum mine and offers our condolences to the family and friends of those killed and injured.
Desmond Tutu, the South African activist and bishop, Nobel Peace Prize winner and winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, famously said, “A person is a person because he recognizes others as persons.”
All too often, workers are not recognized as humans by their employers but rather regarded as expendable objects. The struggles of these striking miners are the struggles that working people face worldwide.
The Teamsters Union demands that Lonmin, the UK-based mining company that owns Marikana, take responsibility for their role in the strike and subsequent loss of life. It is incumbent upon them to restore calm and safety by treating workers as people, not expendable objects.
The Teamsters Union stands in solidarity with the South African labor movement at this difficult juncture. It is our hope that the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, an independent police body in South Africa, will fairly judge whether this horrific police action was justified.