JOHANNESBURG – Gold Fields said on Thursday that it might half operations at its South Deep operations in Gauteng after it received a 48-hour notice by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) of its intention to embark on a protected strike to protest retrenchments of 1 100 more workers at the mine.
Gold Fields, one of the world’s largest gold mining firms, commenced a Section 189 process with the mine's two registered trade unions in August to retrench up to 1 560 employees at its South Deep operation.
Gold Fields said that consultations with the branch leadership of the two unions have been extensive with various options explored to improve the sustainability of the mine and limit job losses since the section 189 process was initiated. South Deep employed 3 614 full-time employees and 2 214 contractors prior to the section 189 process.
Gold Fields said that 177 employees had taken up offers of voluntary severance packages, but the mine still has to reduce its workforce by about 1 100 staff members and retrenchment letters were sent to these employees on Wednesday. In addition, the mine will reduce the number of contractors by about 420 people.
The gold miner said the selection criteria used to determine which employees would be affected were part of the Section 189 consultations and included length of service, performance and competency criteria and attendance records.