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South Africa observes national day of mourning for shot mine workers24 August 2012
Memorials have been held across South Africa for the workers killed at the Lonmin Marikana platinum mine. The massacre of striking mineworkers by South African police on 16 August left 34 shot dead. Another 10 workers, including miners and police officers, died in the week before.
Australian unions joined the international condemnation of the killings. ACTU President Ged Kearney described the shooting as "appalling".
"We send our deepest sympathy to our brothers and sisters who have lost family members and colleagues in these senseless and tragic events," Ms Kearney said.
On top of demands for better pay, abysmal living conditions for many miners have exacerbated tensions. It was reported that an unnamed South African mining company was housing workers in conditions where four toilets and four showers were shared by more than 600 workers.
Conflict at the mine between groups of workers aligned with different unions had also intensified in recent weeks.
"Every worker should be able to go to work knowing that their life and physical safety is guaranteed. We send our deepest condolences to all those who have lost loved ones, and plead for all those involved to renounce violence and solve the dispute peacefully," said ITUC General Secretary, Sharan Burrow.
The ITUC and ACTU joined the international call for South African authorities to ensure a full investigation into the killings at Lonmin mine and the spiral of violence which led up to it.
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