JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – JSE-listed Gold Fields has been granted an urgent interdict to bring an unprotected strike at the East section of its KDC mine on South Africa’s West Rand to an end.
The gold miner reported on Friday that about 12 000 employees had downed tools in an unlawful strike, apparently over disagreements with organised labour and related structures on the mine.
Spokesperson Sven Lunsche said that KDC East produces 1 660 oz a day. To date, two night shifts and two-day shifts had been lost.
He added the main issue seemed to be unhappiness with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) branch leadership at the mine.
“The safety of our people is our first priority and we appeal to all stakeholders to continue to act with restraint and to find peaceful solutions to their differences. It is important that we restore normality on the mine in a peaceful manner and as soon as possible,” South Africa executive VP Peter Turner noted.
NUM spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka confirmed that the majority of the striking miners were NUM members.
Speaking to Mining Weekly Online, Seshoka explained that a funeral benefit scheme had raised concerns among the miners. “The company introduced a compulsory group funeral benefit scheme. They cannot impose such a scheme on the workers. People must be free to join, and others that do not want it must not be forced to join,” he said.
The strike at the East section fo the KDC mine comes as South Africa’s mining industry has been hit hard by violent industrial action in the platinum sector, which some feared could spill over to gold producers.
In mid-August, platinum producer Lonmin was forced to bring all essential operations at its Marikana mine, in Rustenburg, to a halt, as an illegal strike by 3 000 rock-drill operators led to violent clashes, which left 44 dead.