South Africa: Compromise, Then Violence

The strike would have been the first legal job action by South Africa's black miners since their union, the National Union of Mineworkers, was formed in 1982. The walkout at gold and coal mines was called off at the last minute, however, when management agreed to raise the workers' holiday pay. But word of the compromise evidently did not reach all the mines, and throughout the gold-rich Transvaal and Orange Free State some 40,000 blacks refused to go underground for their usual shifts. When they did not disperse, police riot squads moved in, and the angry miners responded with showers...

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