TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber sent the following message to COSATU General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi on Saturday morning about the deaths at the Lonmin mine in Marikana.
“I extend to you, to COSATU and the NUM, and to the families of the dead and injured at the Lonmin mine our utmost solidarity and most profound sympathy over the terrible recent events.
“No one should ever have to lose their lives in an industrial dispute, and we salute the heroic efforts of trade unionists in South Africa over many years to deliver a system where economic justice can be achieved without bloodshed.
“Please pass on the concern and solidarity of Britain’s working people and our unions – founded on the struggles of our own miners’ unions – to the work colleagues, families and communities of all those affected by the events at Lonmin.
“As you know, the TUC and our affiliated unions have the closest relationship with COSATU and you affiliated unions as a sister member of the International Trade Union Confederation on the Global Union Federations. Often, our solidarity is about supporting fellow trade unionists in countries like Swaziland, but on this occasion, the need for solidarity is closer to home.
“I hope that, when you have considered fully your next steps, you will let me know how the TUC and its affiliated unions can assist more practically, either to help the families of those affected by the events at Lonmin, or indeed with interventions aimed at the company’s London-based operations.”