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South African minors protest turns violent

ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION South African police used rubber bullets, teargas and stun grenades to disperse striking miners who turned violent during a protest in Rustenburg on Saturday (October 27, 2012). National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) members clashed with other workers who have been fighting a deadly turf war for support. Seven people were arrested but no major injuries were reported in the incident about 120 km (80 miles) northwest of Johannesburg, police said. Anglo American Platinum says it has reached a deal with the workers to reinstate 12,000 miners who were sacked for an illegal strike, and offered sweeteners such as a one-off hardship payment of 2,000 rand ($230) to facilitate the return. The strike has lasted about six weeks and crippled production. Union spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said he expected workers would return to their posts and "that will mean the end of the strike". In recent days, several wildcat strikes over wages and working conditions in the gold sector have come to an end with employers sacking, or threatening to sack, miners striking illegally. South African labour law requires clear formal processes for strikes and walk-outs. Those that do not go through all the proper hoops are considered illegal, and can result in striking workers being sacked. Mining firms usually reinstate dismissed workers because it is more expensive to train a new workforce. But some of the job losses could be permanent with employers using the labour strife to shut down marginal mines in South Africa.

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