MINERAL Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe called for an end to the strike.
 African News Agency (ANA)
JOHANNESBURG - The regional leadership of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said yesterday that it wants an end to the four-week strike at Gold Fields South Deep mine.

Ndlela Radebe, regional chairperson of the PWV region, said the leadership had written to the branch for an end to the crippling strike.

Radebe said the union wanted an extension of the offer to end the strike, which ended on Friday.

The company said yesterday that it would consider the extension.

NUM on Friday refused to end its four-week strike at Gold Field’s South Deep mine in Carletonville after it rejected the company’s last-ditch effort to end the industrial action on Friday.

Gold Fields chief executive Nick Holland said that the company was disappointed after the union dug in its heels despite the proposed settlement offer jointly developed by the company and union leadership.

The offer, which included an increase in severance payments and enhanced portable skills training opportunities for retrenched employees, ended on Friday.

“However long the strike continues, it cannot and will not lead to changes in the restructuring plans, including the 1082 retrenchments that are necessary for South Deep’s long-term sustainability and saving the remaining 3500 jobs. Should the strike continue for an extended period of time though, it could potentially place more jobs at risk,” Holland said on Saturday.

The mine has been closed since NUM downed tools on November 2 to oppose the retrenchments of 1500 employees, including contractors, at the mine, which has been losing R100million a month.

While the operation is losing some R6m a day, striking union members have lost R80m in wages and other earnings, the company said.

The company said that it had received overwhelming responses from employees not supporting the strike and wanting to return to work.

“However, they fear the intimidation and threats emanating from the small group of strike leaders,” the company said.

Meanwhile, Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe on Friday called for an urgent end to the strike at Sibanye-Stillwater’s Beatrix, Kloof and Driefontein mines, which has claimedthree lives. He said he had met the company executives earlier on Friday as part of his continuous engagements with the sector on pertinent issues.