Gold Fields workers to strike

Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi

Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi

Published Nov 13, 2010


Workers belonging to the National Union of Mineworkers (Num) would down tools at Gold Fields' South Deep mine on Friday night to highlight their concerns over transformation of mine's management.

“The company's executive management is lily white, ... you only find black people underground,” NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said.

He said the union's 6000 workers would down tools from the night shift on Friday.

The union was demanding that it sits in during the appointment of senior managers and that it takes part in the company's skills development processes.

The union was ready to go on strike two weeks ago when the mine obtained a court interdict preventing the workers from embarking on the strike.

“The Labour court set aside the company 's interdict this morning.”

Gold Fields spokesman Sven Lunsche said the company withdrew its application as it “is not in our interest” to have a drawn out court case.

“We are still open to discussion with the union.”

He said the company did not accede to the union's demand to be involved in procurement and the appointment of senior managers, as this was the function of management.

The mine was well on its way to meeting requirements of the mining charter which requires that black people fill 40 percent of top and middle management by 2014.

“At the moment we are just off 30 percent.”

“The strike will affect production. But we don't know how long the strike will last,” said Lunsche.

Only 2000 permanent workers at the mine were under the union, he said disputing the numbers cited earlier.

“It's in our interest to resolve this as soon as possible.”

He said that the mine had held a meeting with the union and that other meetings would be held during the weekend. - Sapa

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