Business

Strikers return to work at three Gold Fields shafts

Sapa

Workers have returned to Gold Fields' Beatrix one, two and three shafts as expected after the company issued a final ultimatum before firing them.

Workers have returned to Gold Fields' Beatrix one, two and three shafts as expected after the company issued a final ultimatum before firing them. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

Wednesday's attendance was "full turnout," said Gold Fields spokesperson Willie Jacobsz.

On Monday the gold producer issued a final ultimatum to workers at those shafts on a wildcat strike since September 24 saying that if they did not come back they would be fired.

Up to 70% turned up en masse at the mine near Welkom in the Free State, irrespective of their shift on Tuesday.

They were sent home and told to report according to the shift roster on Wednesday.

The company also issued a final ultimatum to workers at the KDC West mine near Carletonville, Gauteng and Beatrix number four shaft to be back at work by Thursday 2pm.

There was no sign of them yet.

"There has been a lot of informing and consultations taking place. We can expect them tomorrow [Thursday] at best," Jacobsz said.

The ultimatum did not apply to the 8 500 KDC East mineworkers who went on strike on Sunday but the company has applied for an interdict at KDC east declaring the strike unlawful.

Those who returned to work by the deadline would benefit from an agreement reached under the auspices of the Chamber of Mines, "notwithstanding that the offer has expired", Gold Fields chief executive Nick Holland said.

Gold Fields had lost about R1.2-billion in revenue and 65 000 ounces in gold production due to the strike.

The company had saved R900-million in wages over the same period, Holland said.

He said Gold Fields had been left with little option but to issue the ultimatums, given the escalating violence among strikers. This included intimidation, attempted murder, and damage to property. – Sapa

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