AngloGold resumes ops as workers return

2012-10-26 09:52

Johannesburg - AngloGold Ashanti [JSE:ANG] said on Friday workers at its West Wits operations had returned to work, bringing the curtain down on the worst industrial unrest in the gold sector since apartheid.

After threats of mass firings and a wage deal agreed between the industry and National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the only mine not up and running is one of Gold Fields’ three operations, where sacked workers are appealing their dismissal.

“It appears that the strike is over. Workers have proceeded underground at two of the three mines affected and it appears that the same is happening at the third,” AngloGold spokesperson Alan Fine said of the West Wits operations.

Workers at AngloGold’s Vaal River complex, which was also hit by an illegal strike, returned to work earlier this week.

After three weeks of talks, NUM and the gold industry, which employs around 157 000 people, announced an agreement on Thursday on wage hikes of between 1.5 and 10.8% for different categories of workers.

Resolution of the gold sector strike is likely to bring relief to the ANC and President Jacob Zuma, who remains favourite to win re-election as head of the ruling party at an internal election in December.

However, large parts of the platinum sector remain idle, with no end in sight to a six-week strike at Anglo Platinum [JSE:AMS] (Amplats), the world’s top producer of the metal.

Some 20 500 workers at Amplats’ Union and Amandelbult operations are still holding out for higher wages, and the company has also sacked 12 000 wildcat strikers at its Rustenburg mines northwest of Johannesburg.

In all, 100 000 downed tools since August in often violent strikes that triggered ratings downgrades and a slight reduction in this year’s economic growth forecast from Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.


  • norman.buchalter - 2012-10-26 11:08

    It is a good thing that miners and employers seem to be negotiating better deals and that the inability of the NUM to act as representative for its constituents has been addressed. It is, however, shocking that in a new world order, post the cold war, post apartheid, post the old world order of subjugation and oppression by various means including keeping the masses ignorant , that the communists and greedy nationalists still colluding with the owners of capital, the corrupt leadership in some instances in the Trade unions , BEE mining billionaires. to prevent the mine workers from improving their lot. Years of poor education, which continues in this country unabated and unattended, has entrenched the lower classes in a shocking social substrate which has existed from colonial days the world over. It is all well and good for shareholders to shout and demand returns on investment, but there will always be those who are suppressed for the sake of profit or warped ideologies. It is time for all parties concerned to take a hard and honest look at themselves, and their agendas. The modern world in which we say we live has no place for the subjugation of the working class and the ongoing treatment of people like miners and factory workers as second or even third class citizens when they risk their lives every day underground so that we ultimately remain a society of consumers who don't even stop to consider how the goods we buy get into the shops but consume the workers souls.

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