Carletonville - Defiant gold miners on Tuesday vowed to extend
their strike for months to come unless pay demands are met, after talks aimed
at ending a wave of crippling work stoppages broke down.
More than 2 500 Harmony Gold Mining Company [JSE:HAR]
workers were among those rallying on Tuesday, unfazed by the prospect of losing
their jobs after mine owners and union officials said that last-gasp talks to
end weeks of rolling wildcat strikes had collapsed.
Workers spurned a wage deal reached last week by negotiators
of the employer body Chamber of Mines of South Africa and union leaders.
The employers have ruled out a further proposal and no new
talks are planned.
"We want money! The strike continues!" Moses
Ngwekazi told thousands of workers gathered at a stadium near the Carletonville
mine southwest of Johannesburg.
"No one is going to fire us, the strike continues. The
employer can't just decide to suspend talks without offering an
alternative," Ngwekazi said.
Tens of thousands of gold mine workers have been on strike
for weeks, halting production.
After Monday's deadlock the Chamber of Mines left the
decision to individual companies to fire the workers or radically restructure
"If a solution is not found, the strike can continue
for up to three months. We don't care," said mineworker Makhalemele
Harmony workers are demanding pay hikes to R18 500 per
Meanwhile in a pre-dawn raid, police arrested 40 striking
workers who had seized equipment worth millions of dollars at Anglo American's
Kumba Iron Ore [JSE:KIO] mine west of the country.
They were part of nearly 300 workers that Kumba sacked on
Monday following an illegal strike they launched nearly two weeks ago at its
Sishen mine in Northern Cape province.
"At about three o'clock this morning, we entered the
mine premises where the illegal strikers were keeping the mine equipment in
"We managed to arrest about 40 of them," said Lieutenant
Colonel Hendrik Swart, police spokesperson for Northern Cape.
Sishen in a statement confirmed the "illegal occupation
of the company's Sishen mine has been brought to an end by the police who
removed the strikers in the early hours of the morning".
Police regained possession of and handed over heavy mining
equipment - including 88 haul trucks - that the striking workers had seized
since the strike started on October 3.
The miners had threatened to destroy the equipment if a pay
increase of R15 000 for all workers, above what they already earn, had not been
Those arrested will face contempt of court charges after
they ignored a Labour Court order to vacate the mine and release equipment
worth R3.3bn, police said.