Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Court orders miners back to work

Gold Fields has obtained a court interdict to force 30 000 striking miners back to work, the company said on Thursday.

”We must now serve the interdict on the National Union of Mineworkers. But I expect they will be back at work within 24 hours,” said spokesperson Willie Jacobsz.

NUM secretary general Gwede Mantashe said his members will comply with the order.

”We will retreat. We must comply with the court order,” he said.

The company’s South African operations ground to a halt on Wednesday as workers downed tools to demand an increase in a living-out allowance.

The allowance enables miners to live away from the single-sex hostels provided by the mines, and the NUM wants it increased to R1 200.

Jacobsz said the court upheld Gold Fields’ view that the strike was unprotected because the unions had signed an agreement with management on the issue in 2002.

Mantashe said the NUM will give notice immediately that it is terminating the agreement, ”so as to close that legal loophole”.

It will then address the issue again.

”We cannot allow mine workers to be given a living-out allowance of R750. It is a miscarriage of justice,” Mantashe said.

Jacobsz said earlier the company is willing to discuss the matter, but only when the miners get back to work.

Gold Fields said it loses R25-million in revenue each day it is not operational.

Meanwhile, the NUM was to meet Harmony negotiators late on Thursday afternoon in an effort to restart negotiations over resolving a strike about housing, racism and non-compliance with the mining charter at the company’s Free State mines.

The union has warned that 50 000 more Harmony workers will start striking next week in solidarity with the 21 000 already on strike in the Free State if their concerns are not addressed.

They have been on strike since last Wednesday, costing Harmony about R1-million a day. — Sapa

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Related stories


If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Subscribers only

The Democratic Alliance and illiberal liberalism’s glass ceiling

The DA appears to have abandoned its ambitions of 2016 and is set to lose further ground in the upcoming elections

Canna-business deal for Ingonyama Trust land

Foreign investment has been lined up for a joint venture with the Ingonyama Trust Board, which administers tribal land for the Zulu monarch

More top stories

The Democratic Alliance and illiberal liberalism’s glass ceiling

The DA appears to have abandoned its ambitions of 2016 and is set to lose further ground in the upcoming elections

ANC Durban election candidate shot dead while on door-to-door campaign

One other man was shot dead and two others were rushed to hospital with gunshot wounds

Rule of law drops globally, including in South Africa

Security and corruption prevents the country from ranking higher on the World Justice Project Rule of Law Index for 2021

Slice of life: ‘I can read nine or 10 books...

David van der Westhuizen, a street bookseller based at the KwaZulu-Natal Society of the Arts Gallery in Durban, tells Paddy Harper how he survives unemployment

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…