In 1985, workers at the British Tyre and Rubber (BTR) Sarmcol factory in Mpophomeni, outside Howick, Natal, went on strike in support of demands for the recognition of the Metal and Allied Workers' Union (MAWU). Management claimed the strike was illegal and, in March 1985, fired all 970 workers. Following an Inkatha rally in the area on 5 December 1986, four prominent MAWU members were abducted and three of them killed (See MAWU abductions.) The killings set in process a lengthy period of political conflict in the area. In March 1998, 13 years after the initial strike, the Appeal Court ruled in favour of the 970 dismissed strikers.
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