Methods in 1st segment
Methods in 2nd segment
Methods in 3rd segment
Methods in 4th segment
- Strikers marched to nearby mines, inviting others to join the strike.
- On 29 June, members of the Transvaal Labour Party, the Federation, and trade-union leaders held a mass public meeting in Benoni in which speakers called for a general strike.
Methods in 6th segment
Involvement of social elites
Nonviolent responses of opponent
Groups in 1st Segment
Groups in 2nd Segment
Groups in 3rd Segment
Groups in 4th Segment
Groups in 5th Segment
Groups in 6th Segment
Success in achieving specific demands/goals
Bryn Mawr College
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More workers from the New Kleinfontein Gold Mine in South
Africa subscribed to the Transvaal Miner’s Association than workers from any
other single mine. Underground
workers at this mine, who were primarily white, were accustomed to working
eight and a half hours daily and five and a half hours on Saturdays. In order to comply with the South
African mining regulations (which stipulated that men should not work more than
eight hours underground) managers had workers spend half an hour on the surface
before transporting them underground.
On 1 May 1913, Edward Hensley Bulman (the manager appointed
to the New Kleinfontein Mine near Benoni) announced that he would begin
requiring workers to stay at the mine for a full eight hours on Saturday. Five of the mechanics were unhappy with
this new policy, and left the mine on Saturday 10 May 1913. The Amalgamated Society of Engineers, a
trade union, instructed its members not to accept the jobs of the workers that
walked out. The manager replaced
the mechanics with new workers (who were not members of the Amalgamated Society
of Engineers), and refused to reinstate the employees that had left.
Other primarily white miners refused to work at New
Kleinfontein on 26 May in support of the workers that had resigned in protest.
The next day, all workers at the mine then declared a strike and appointed a
strike committee composed of members of the three trade unions represented at
the mine: The Amalgamated Society of Engineers, the Transvaal Miner’s
Association and the Federation of Trade Unions of Traansvaal. The strike committee demanded
reinstatement of all workers and a revised working schedule of 7 a.m. to 3:30
p.m. on weekdays and 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m on Saturdays.
The management of the mine refused to negotiate with the
strike committee. After hiring
non-union miners, it reopened the mine on 11 June 1913. General J.C. Smuts, a former minister of
mines in South African and the current Minister of Defense and Finance and the
acting minister of Justice in South Africa met with the strike committee on 19
and 22 June 1913 but was unwilling to concede to their demands. On 20 June, police arrested 5 strike
leaders. Hundreds of strikers
marched on the jail where the government held the leaders to demand their
release. Mounted police protected
the jail, and while some marchers threw rocks at policemen, no one was
injured. On 21 June, workers at the
nearby Van Ryn Estates Mine and at the New Modderfontein Mine, both under separate
ownership from the New Kleinfontein Mine, went on strike in solidarity with the
New Kleinfontein Miners.
On 27 June, Smut deployed approximately 2800 policemen, 1700
special constables, 2900 imperial troops, and 670 members of the citizen forces
to the areas affected by the striking. On 28 June, the Federation of Trade Unions
of Transvaal had a meeting to discuss the possibility of a general strike with
the goals of reinstating all of the strikers, as well as achieving the demands
of the New Kleinfontein miners. On
29 June, members of the Transvaal Labour Party, the Federation, and trade-union
leaders held a mass public meeting in Benoni in which speakers called for a
general strike. On Monday 30 June, the strike committee and strikers marched on
the Brakpan mines, which were nearby, under a variety of ownership, and
concentrated within a small area, to proclaim a general strike. This march traveled from mine to mine,
and three mines and the Victoria Falls Power Company located in the surrounding
area also joined the strike.
On 1 July the Transvaal Miner’s Association (T.M.A.) joined
with the Federation of Trade Unions of Transvaal to create a Strike Governing
board, and declared that a general strike of all South African miners would
commence on 4 July. In addition,
the executive of the Federation called upon all of its affiliated unions to
cast their votes for a general strike for 4July. On 1 July four
mines on the East Rand wend on strike.
On 2 July the East Rand Proprietary Mines and five Randfontein mines
went on strike. By 4 July, more
than 18,000 men and 63 mines struck.
By 5 July all of the mines and power stations on the Witwatersrand gold
fields (around 19,000 workers) were on strike.
On 3 July, in an editorial, The Rand Daily Mail urged the
prime minister and government of South Africa to intervene, and deal fairly
with both the mine owners and strikers.
On 3 July, the South African Engine Drivers’ Association joined the
strike. By 4 July, nearly every trade
union in South Africa except for the railway workers union was striking in
solidarity with the miners.
On 4 July the
railway workers at Germiston and Braamfontein went on strike, interrupting the
railway lines between Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, Natal, and the East
Rand. Strikers and their families
marched along the railway lines and engineers left their trains to join the
march. On 4 July 1913, the strike
leadership planned a meeting in Market Square in Johannesburg for all of the
strikers at two o’clock in the afternoon. Smuts ordered the chief magistrate of
Johannesburg to ban the meeting.
He communicated this order to Johannesburg around 1:30 PM, by which time
a huge crowd had already assembled.
Strikers and protesters had held a mass meeting in Germiston earlier
that day that government forces did not challenge. The crowd at Johannesburg refused to disperse in response to
police and soldiers’ orders, until the police and soldiers charged at
them. Later that day, some
protesters, apparently not trade unionists, set fire to the goods shed at the
railway premises and burned the premises of The
Star, which was the mouthpiece for the Chamber of Mines. Military and police opened fire on a
group engaging in property destruction in the “Corner House, ” and the mob
retaliated with stones and bricks. The strike governing board condemned this violence. The Rand Daily Mail reported that the
trade union strikers were well “dressed and wearing the red rosettes, and
without a desperate look about them.”
On 5 July all businesses and shops in Johannesburg closed, joining
the general strike. During the
afternoon, more mobs of non-unionists created disturbances outside of the Rand
club in Johannesburg, and police fired into the mob. These police shots killed 25 people including innocent
bystanders. A number of others were
injured. After members of the Federation addressed railway workers in the city
of Pretoria, those workers unanimously passed a motion of sympathy with the
strikers on the Witwatersrand. On
Sunday 6 July H.J. Poutsma, the organizing secretary of the Amalgamated Society
of Railway and Harbours Servants, and Frank Nettleton, the organizer of the
newly-formed Transport Workers Union, addressed a mass meeting of 8000 people
and openly aired the grievances of railway workers. The meeting then passed a similar resolution supporting the
On 7 July 1913, Smuts, the Minister of Defense and Finance
as well as the acting Minister of Justice, and the Prime Minister Botha met
with strike leaders Andrew Watson (President of the Federation), Bain, Matthews,
and Hindman in the Carlton Hotel to reach a settlement. The mine owners
reinstated all of the strikers, and the government appointed a judicial
committee to investigate the strikers’ grievances. The mine owners dismissed
the strikebreakers, but the government paid them a full year’s salary of 300 pounds.
Visser, Wessel. "The South African Labour Movement's Responses to Declarations of Martial Law, 1913-1922 ." \ South African Journal of Military Studies 31.2 (2003): 142-157. Scientia Militaria. Web. 12 Feb. 2014. <http://scientiamilitaria.journals.ac.za/pub/article/view/157>.
Nauright, J. (2005). Cornish miners and the Witwatersrand gold mines in South Africa 1886-1904. Cornish History (on-line journal). Available at: http://www.marjon.ac.uk/cornish-history/witwatersrand/index.htm.