Harmony Gold was "pleased and encouraged" that workers at its
Kusasalethu operations abided by the Thursday 6am ultimatum to return to work
to avoid being fired, a spokesperson said.
"A large percentage of our workers have returned,"
said Marian van der Walt as workers arrived en masse before the cut off time to
make sure they keep their jobs.
On the evening of October 2, a group of workers prevented
others from reporting for duty at the mine near Carletonville, west of
Johannesburg, and operations ground to a halt.
On Monday, October 23, the mine issued an ultimatum to 5 400
workers saying that if they did not return by 6am on Thursday they would be
"Thousands are going through the turnstiles," said
an upbeat Van der Walt.
She said mining had not resumed immediately because the
miners had to go through certain procedures such as medical checks that were
compulsory after long breaks, and safety checks also had to be carried out.
The company would issue a statement later on Thursday with
more information on how many people had returned, whether any dismissals would
be necessary and what the situation was with mining operations.
Harmony Gold will join AngloGold Ashanti [JSE:ANG] and Gold
Fields [JSE:GFI] in a meeting with three unions at the Chamber of Mines on
Thursday to discuss proposals related to clause 11 of a wage agreement that
applies until mid 2013.
The clause addresses the wages of certain categories of the
lowest paid workers and rock drill operators.
Harmony considered the strike unprotected because it had
signed a wage agreement in the chamber for increases ranging between 7.5% and
10% between various job categories and a one percent profit share after capital
When it issued the ultimatum on Monday, the company said it
had lost close to 13,000 ounces of production due to the strike.
The Kusasalethu strike was part of a wave of strikes across
the gold and platinum sector where workers commonly called for an increase to
R12 500 and expressed dissatisfaction with their union representation.
In the platinum sector, a clash between strikers and police
on August 16, left 34 people, mostly miners at Lonmin Platinum, dead.