Wildcat strikes at platinum, gold, coal, diamond, chrome and iron ore mines continued across a number of provinces yesterday. Thousands of workers at the Kloof-Driefontein Complex (KDC) West mine of Gold Fields confirmed yesterday that they would continue to stay away.
“We will not go back to work until our demands are met,” a leader of the strikers, Ellis Booi, proclaimed to the cheers of thousands of workers at a stadium close to the mine.
Strikes have halted production at some mines for two to three weeks, while workers at other mines made the decision to down tools this week.
Strikes have now been reported across Gauteng and North West, as well as in the Northern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo.
Mining operations at Kumba Iron Ore’s Sishen mine in the Northern Cape were suspended on Tuesday after about 300 striking employees blocked an entrance to the open pit mine.
On Tuesday an underground sit-in by about 65 workers began at Petra Diamonds’ Kimberley mine, causing mining operations to be suspended.
Petra Diamonds spokesman Gert Kloppers said yesterday that the company would like the miners to come back up.
“They are welcome to come out anytime. We would appreciate that,” he said, adding that the company and unions were committed to finding a solution to workers’ grievances.
Another strike started on Tuesday at Harmony Gold’s Kusasalethu mine on the West Rand, when a group of about 300 miners prevented night shift workers from going underground.
The mine remained closed yesterday as some workers barricaded the entrance.
Wildcat strikes that flared up on Monday at Gold One’s Ezulwini mine on the West Rand, Bokoni Platinum’s mine in Limpopo and at Samancor Western Chrome Mines near Rustenburg extended into yesterday.
There seems no clear end in sight for the three-week long strike at Gold Fields’ KDC West mine near Carletonville and the two-week action at its Beatrix mine in the Free State involving about 22 000 workers together.
Similarly, mining operations at AngloGold Ashanti’s six mines in Gauteng remained shut as wildcat strikes involving tens of thousands of workers, which started late last month, continued.
“All remains at a standstill,” spokesman Stewart Bailey said yesterday.
Anglo American Platinum’s Rustenburg and Union mines have also continued to be the scene of disorder since mid-September, with the company conducting risk assessments this week after damage to property was reported.
Miners at Coal of Africa’s Mooiplaats colliery in Mpumalanga have been on strike since pay talks broke down two weeks ago.
A number of affected mines planned disciplinary hearings for today, warning that a possible outcome of these could be dismissals. – Sapa