New mass strike hits Gold Fields mine in SA

September 10, 2012 12:23 pm
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Thousands of striking workers march on a mine in Marikana, South Africa, on Sep 5/AFP
JOHANNESBURG, Sep 10 – Around 15,000 workers have downed tools in South Africa at a Gold Fields mine west of Johannesburg in the latest work stoppage to hit the vital mining sector, the company said on Monday.

The strike, followed by around a third of the workforce, is the second at the KDC mine, one of the company’s three gold mines in South Africa.

Gold Fields is the world’s fourth gold producer and South Africa’s second.

“Employees of the west section of the KDC Gold Mine… on the West Rand in South Africa have been engaging in an unlawful and unprotected strike since the start of the night shift” Sunday evening, Gold Fields said in a statement.

“Approximately 15,000 employees are participating in the strike and all production at KDC West has been suspended as a result,” it added.

A strike by 12,000 mine workers at KDC’s east section near Johannesburg ended on September 5 after a seven-day stayaway. The workers had demanded a change in leadership at their local union branch.

The reason for the latest strike was still unclear, “but we hope to gain clarity as soon as possible,” said company head Peter Turner.

“The reason for the latest strike was still unclear, “but we hope to gain clarity as soon as possible,” said company head Peter Turner.

Gold Fields said its senior management was on the mine “engaging with the striking employees, the various unions and other structures, with a view to finding a speedy and peaceful resolution to the unlawful strike.”

The latest Johannesburg strike follows a deadly wildcat strike at platinum giant Lonmin’s Marikana mine, which started exactly a month ago and left 44 people dead, 34 of them shot by police in a crackdown.

The Lonmin unrest has been blamed in part on rivalry between the main National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and a splinter union Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU).

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