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SOUTH AFRICAN METAL WORKERS STRIKE HANSON SUBSIDIARY IN SOLIDARITY WITH UMWA; NOBEL LAUREATE ARCHBISHOP TUTU OFFERS SUPPORT TO AMERICAN MINERS

 WASHINGTON, Aug. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Approximately 750 workers at an Ever Ready Battery factory in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, walked off the job today in solidarity with striking members of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA). Ever Ready Battery in South Africa is owned by Hanson PLC which also owns Peabody Holding Co., the largest coal producer in the United States.
 The South African workers, members of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), went on strike at 4 a.m. EDT today, delivered a protest message about the UMWA dispute to local management and began picketing the factory. The workers then met with Nelson Mandela, president of the African National Congress, to inform him of their solidarity action.
 "Workers in South Africa cannot fight the apartheid practices by Hanson in South Africa without also fighting the exploitation by Hanson of mine workers in the United States," said Bimba Manggabashana, NUMSA Eastern Cape Regional secretary. "In our experience, an injury to one really is an injury to all, and we stand by our brothers and sisters in the United Mine Workers of America."
 The South African strike mirrors a similar action two months ago in Australia. On June 2, 1,000 miners employed at two Hanson coal mines in Australia staged a 24-hour strike in support of the UMWA.
 "We are extremely gratified by this show of solidarity from our South African brothers and sisters," said UMWA President Richard Trumka. "From the United States to Great Britain, from Australia to South Africa, Hanson's workers around the world are showing they are united behind the UMWA's demands for job security at Peabody Holding Co."
 In a separate development, the Rev. Desmond Tutu, the Anglican archbishop of Cape Town and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, wrote to Trumka proclaiming his support for the UMWA's strike.
 "I believe your desire to sustain a strong trade union in the coal mines is a basic human right and denounce any effort by your employers which would deny you this elemental right," wrote Tutu.
 "Your struggle for job transfer rights is just and reasonable," Tutu continued. "Coal miners deserve the respect of the coal operators and should not be discarded when one mine is depleted and another mine opened by the same company. It is very unethical for the coal operators to abandon the miners and their families without providing job opportunities in newly opened mines when they are available."
 Responding to the Tutu letter, Trumka said today, "Archbishop Tutu has been an extremely eloquent voice for human rights in South Africa and around the world. I am greatly appreciative that he has spoken out on behalf of the human rights of American coal miners, and I hope the coal operators listen carefully."
 -0- 8/6/93
 /CONTACT: Greg Hawthorne, director, or Jim Grossfeld, special assistant, communications department, United Mine Workers of America, 202-842-7240/


CO: United Mine Workers of America; Hanson PLC; Peabody Holding Co.;
 Ever Ready Battery ST: District of Columbia IN: MNG SU:


IH-KD -- DC005 -- 0257 08/06/93 10:27 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 6, 1993
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