Through the whole debacle on striking miners and whether the miners deserve the raises they are so dramatically demanding, everyone seems to forget what the mining companies do for these employees, the communities around the mines and how they endeavour to empower their people.
Here is a crash course on the basics:
1. The majority of people employed by the mines are illiterate, have no basic education behind their names, yet are demanding the salary of a ‘just out of university’ student, someone who has a basic education, who can read, who can write and someone who endeavored to make something of their lives by studying and further enriching the country with their specific skill set, what will these miners who are demanding these kinds of salaries be giving back to the country besides another strike, further injuries to innocent children in taxis on their way to school who have made the conscious decision to empower themselves ? Furthermore, the mines provide ABET (Adult Basic Education Training) to these striking employees, to furthermore empower them in their communities and country. The costs of these courses are incredibly expensive, yet the mines provide them for free. Should the costs of these courses not be taken from their salaries rather than be given a free service which they take for granted?
2. The mines invest in communities, building schools for children, housing for employees AND their families, solid brick houses, with flushing system toilets, electricity, and running water, another project which has cost these companies billions of rand. Maybe these houses or the costs thereof should now be taken off of their “increased” salaries. The miners currently complaining of their living circumstances are the miners who decided to take a greater Nett pay home, rather than be provided housing in the hostels that the mining companies have. It was THEIR decision, which is now suddenly the mines fault they have shoddy living conditions?
The ones who do stay in the hostels simply cannot complain, they have 3 meals a day, a roof over their head, the rooms are furnished with beds for them to sleep on, many things that they would not have had an opportunity to have should the mines have not existed, and if the mines truly were a capitalistic venture.
3. These so called capitalist mining houses also provide FREE public health care to the communities around the mines, because they believe that investing in their employee’s family’s wellbeing means a happy employee. Children are given free immunization shots, pregnant women are provided with vitamins, people in the community are taken care of by these companies, and many of these people are dependent on the weekly visit by the nurse for their wellbeing and healthcare. Why? Because the mines actually care.
4. Healthcare for HIV / ART and TB are provided to employees FREE OF CHARGE by these outrageous mines who couldn’t care less about their employees, WOW, what a selfish way to show how little you care. If these miners were working in the courier industry, or any other industry, would their TB treatment be free? Is the current domestic workers ART treatment free? Does their employer ensure that she takes her medication, reissue medication, and hospitalize her if necessary? I think not?
5. The next factor these workers are claiming is that they want danger pay for working underground. I don’t see the army or police being paid danger pay on top of their general salary for doing their jobs, what makes the miners so entitled to it? The number one cause for injuries on duty is not the employer, it’s the employee, taking short cuts, to reach production deadlines, or higher, so they can take a nice bonus of MONEY home to their families. So on top of the salary they are demanding, they will also now still be receiving production bonuses? That is ludicrous!
These mine workers want to blame the mines for the fatalities or injuries that they are the main cause of, because it is so much easier to point the finger in another direction rather than at themselves. The mines also pay out compensation to the families for these fatalities, and where I agree that money does not bring the life back, the mines still compensate even after the injury / death was caused by the employee himself taking a short cut, because he wasn’t in the mood for adhering to safety policies and procedures. The average domestic workers family will not receive compensation for her death. Maybe the risk is lower, but the consequence is the same?
Don’t blame this on racism; don’t blame this on an “Irish coffee” country. Blame this on the fact that these people are unable to see the bigger picture, blame this on a government who promised less than it has delivered. This is the biggest issue in our country, the population are becoming restless and frustrated that their needs are not being met. This is not the mining houses fault, this is the governments fault, clean running water, electricity, service delivery, and keeping promises are not the main concern of JZ and co. Spending money on these communities they promised so much to, before the election, is not their concern. But it is the mines concern, and the mines are providing as promised.
It’s far too easy for the average person to forget what the mines invest in because they don’t know the environment, it’s too easy to say that they are paying their employees peanuts, but that is looking at the world through a very tiny lens and forgetting the bigger picture of what these companies do for their employees and provide.
Along with their apparent pitiful salary, these workers receive benefits far beyond what the average person would receive.
These workers are uneducated, and feel that the world owes them something.
Why don’t the mining houses demand a higher education from their employees, rather than sit with the striking workers they have now?
Why don’t the mines make the following counter offer to employees?
“I will give you R16000 a month, but you give me a matric certificate first.”
The unions would obviously never agree to that, because that would mean that half of the communities would be unemployed! Just like they never allowed the mines to go mechanized, because thousands of people would be unemployed.
Open your eyes to the bigger picture, rather than focusing on the tiny little stain in the left bottom corner of the painting.
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