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Gold Fields miners vow to derail progress

Oct 18 2012 14:57
Sapa & Reuters

Carletonville - Striking miners at Gold Fields KDC West mine resolved on Thursday that they would stop miners who had decided to return to work.

"There's no one that will go underground tomorrow," workers' representative Vusi Tshomela said.

"We will go to the shafts and stop the people from going underground."

KDC West workers have been on strike for more than a month and were given a final ultimatum by Gold Fields to return to work on Thursday.

Meanwhile a spokesperson for the company said 80% of workers at Gold Fields’ KDC West mine had returned to work by the dismissal deadline.

“A large number of people have today arrived at the site and clocked their punch cards. The real test now is to see whether they return for the first shift tomorrow morning,” company spokesperson Willie Jacobsz said.

However, hundreds of miners were gathered on a hilltop off mine property to attend a mass meeting at noon on Thursday.

During the meeting, the possibility of joining another union was discussed.

"We are looking at Amcu (the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union) or the Democratic Socialist Movement," he said.

It was also decided they would stay on the hilltop throughout the night.

A group of workers' representatives would have a separate meeting and would give the workers feedback later, Tshomela said.

Mineworker Clement Ntlantlapo said miners who were working would be stopped and should join the strike.

"They want to go and stop them from clocking and they must join the strike."

Another said he would not leave the hilltop until his demand for better wages was met.

"We are not going anywhere. The only thing that I am sure of is that night-shift is not going to work. They owe us money," said 32-year old Ishmael Naile.

John Motone, 35, said: "We are dissatisfied about the outcomes. We don't know if we will get what we want."

A pamphlet given to workers on Thursday morning notified workers that more than 3 000 employees had reported for duty at KDC West.

"More employees are on their way to work, we are told," the pamphlet read.

"We wish to urge all employees to ensure that they report at their shafts by no later than 2pm today failing which you will be dismissed from work."

Management informed workers they needed to report for work and stay for the entire shift. Failure to do so would be seen as strike action.

It said police had acted against people on Wednesday evening who intimidated and attacked miners who wished to return to work.

"To this end, please note that no illegal gatherings will be permitted again in KDC West, including the one planned for 10am (on Thursday) morning."

It warned that the police would act against the people organising the gatherings and would disperse them.

"Let's go back to work and try to save our mine and our jobs," the pamphlet read.

amcu  |  gold fields  |  num  |  mining unrest



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