AngloGold sacks 12 000 defiant miners

2012-10-24 18:06

Carletonville - AngloGold Ashanti [JSE:ANG] sacked 12 000 wildcat strikers who defied a deadline to return to work on Wednesday, the latest company to resort to mass firings after weeks of crippling labour unrest.

Thousands of stick-wielding strikers responded by rallying near the operations of AngloGold saying they would not buckle under company pressure.

"Can you see how many of us are here? No one will fire such a number of people," one of the labour leaders said to the crowd of strikers at the company's West Wits operations near Carletonville.

Several companies have told strikers to return to work or lose their jobs in a last-ditch move to resolve widening strikes that have poisoned labour relations and marred the image of South Africa's economy.

AngloGold had given strikers until noon on Wednesday to return. The roughly 12 000 striking employees at its West Wits operation failed to return, spokesperson Alan Fine said.

"The deadline has now passed and that means the process of issuing dismissals would begin now," he told Reuters.

About 24 000 AngloGold employees went on strike at the sprawling West Wits and Vaal River complexes. Fine said the 12 000 strikers at Vaal River have gone back to work.

About 100 000 workers have downed tools for better pay since August in a wave of strikes that has sparked two ratings agencies to downgrade the country's debt.

The unrest has also left a black mark on the government. President Jacob Zuma has been criticised for his handling of the "Marikana massacre", where police shot 34 strikers in a single day.

Cyril Ramaphosa urged ministers to crack down on a violent platinum miners' strike the day before the 34 miners were killed, according to e-mails.

Do you want more to die?

In Carletonville some of the miners locked arms and other danced the rhythmic "toyi toyi" dance popularised during the anti-apartheid struggle.

One carried a sign aimed at the president: "Zuma, how many mine workers died in Marikana? Do you want more to die again?"

While the strikes drag on, output suffers.

AngloGold said on Wednesday its third-quarter production fell well below its previous guidance due to the strikes. The company said it produced 1.03 million ounces for the quarter, having earlier forecast as much as 1.10 million.

AngloGold is the latest case where the hardball negotiating tactics have failed to get substantial numbers of strikers back to work. Rival Harmony Gold Mining Company [JSE:HAR] has also given wildcat strikers an ultimatum to return to work on Thursday.

Strikes have steadily spread since starting in the platinum industry in August, threatening to further disrupt South Africa's already shaky growth.

The strikes have changed the nature of labour in Africa's biggest economy, Impala Platinum chairperson Khotso Mokhele told reporters after the company's annual general meeting in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

"Of course the strike changed the labour dynamics," he said.

"It clearly is changing the dynamics of the mining sector as a whole and one could argue, in the entire industrial relationship set-up in the country."

In another sign the unrest was continuing to spread, coal miner South African Coal Mining Holdings said that some of its operations had been interrupted due to a new union-led strike over wages.

Gold Fields sacked 8 500 wildcat strikers at its KDC East mine on Tuesday after they ignored an ultimatum. Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) also sacked 12 000 at its Rustenburg operations earlier this month.

The company said on Wednesday that 7 000 of its striking employees had appealed their dismissal notices.

Amplats said last week that it would now be delaying the dismissal process at its Union and Amandelbult operations, where it employs 20 500 people. It also said it was open to discussing the reinstatement of the sacked workers with unions.

  • madelein.delange2 - 2012-10-24 18:19

    Now, revoke the visums of the foreigners on strike, Bobs your uncle approximately 10000 new job opportunities for Saffers.

      vandross.ntshegi - 2012-10-25 12:17

      This right here is Grrrreeeeaaat news!! Fire all of them

  • pierre.flyadvertising - 2012-10-24 18:21

    Eisch!I want....I demand.....oh no!Eisch

  • charlesdumbwin.dumbwin - 2012-10-24 18:23

    GOOD! No work, no pay. Welcome to the real world! Africa is a mess because lazy workers feel entitled to just take, take, take. The rest of the world has to work for its money, but no, not Africa. We just demand, demand, demand... Pathetic!

      pierre.flyadvertising - 2012-10-24 18:28

      But Julius told us........

  • werner.niksch - 2012-10-24 18:25

    great news!!!im sure there is many unemployed people who would jump at the chance to get a job there

  • Teuneman - 2012-10-24 18:25


  • rayno.grever - 2012-10-24 18:27

    I hate to bring colour into this but its a known fact that majority black folks work in the mines. Most of them were struggling to pay their micro loans which contributed to their demand for higher wages.. Due to the mass strike our economy has taken a hit and credit rating downgraded, therefore making it harder to qualify for credit. Since black folks love the odd micro loan I struggle to see the logic in the strike as it achieved nothing except loss of life and a worse credit profile. It only made things worse. Where is the common sense SA...???

      joe.smit.549 - 2012-10-24 18:30

      There is none!

      badladballie - 2012-10-24 20:33

      I blame the unions. They are run by greedy people who don't care for their members’ jobs or for South Africa’s economy. Sure look after employees’ rights but respect the employer’s right to run his business as he sees fit. Make it easy for employers and they will create more jobs.

      arie.vdplaats.3 - 2012-10-24 21:10

      increasing the salaries of the miners will only mean that the loan sharks will do brisker business without the miners' plight being alleviated

  • nicholas.graan - 2012-10-24 18:27

    In this age of violence, lawlessness, demands and civil disobedience they just don't believe this is going to happen to them. What is a warning when you can just ignore it. Good riddance.

  • lacrimose.wolf - 2012-10-24 18:29

    Well within their legal rights as mandated by all the policies, processes and procedures and upheld by the courts. Now enter the next round of violent protests demanding their jobs back. Because none of these fine laws, policies and procedures are worth the paper they are written on.

  • george.larkins.14 - 2012-10-24 18:33

    Excellent!! Time to restructure and employ people that want to work.There is lots of them.If Management can go through with this action workers will think twice in future if they want to strike.If they dont we will have this action every time with wage negotiations.Show them you can!!!!!!

  • hitting.thefan - 2012-10-24 18:36

    Now I wait to here how the government blames the employers, because they are to afraid to alianate there follower with the proper response of saying you are acting illegal and therefore should be fired for persisting in your illegal behaviour. Next wish they should not be hired back and if so they should loose there benefits and be re-employed at the lowest level in the company! Maybe a sweepers and cleaners!

  • nothando.ngomane - 2012-10-24 18:36

    Thats 12000 families without an income. However South Africans we need to learn that there are procedures in doing things and violence is never an answer.

      lacrimose.wolf - 2012-10-24 18:52

      It is estimated (conservatively) that each earner in the mining sector is supporting at least 5 other people not earning an income. So that's instantly 60 000 people with no income. It is also estimated that directly and indirectly each mineworker creates 10 other jobs (transport, food, manufacturing etc) so that's another 120 000 people out of work as a knock-on effect. 192 000 people with no income - and more to follow.

      Ritz40 - 2012-10-24 19:13

      If 192 000 families go without income and there are only 3 people per family there are 576 000 people going hungry because of the 12000 being fired. Of those 576 000 people going hungry how many of them HAVE to resort to stealing to feed the hungry mouths around them? This knock on effect will cause a lot more than just loss of income!!

      lacrimose.wolf - 2012-10-24 19:32

      @Ritz40 - yep. No-one asked any of the 576 000 what they thought. As usual in the collectivist culture, if one suffers we must all suffer. So everyone who subsequently starves, goes without health care, evicted from their home, loses their place at 'varsity/tech, gets robbed, assaulted and even murdered are inconsequential. They are all "contributing" to the collective. So that cannot be a crime. Welcome to The Land of Absurdity

      merven.halo - 2012-10-25 07:18

      "Thats 12000 families without an income." True, but the idiots should think of it before going on strike.

  • ken.rowe.509 - 2012-10-24 18:41

    I would have also fired them....but now we have another 12,000 potential criminals on the streets.

  • jaysonpaul.beckwith - 2012-10-24 18:42

    To all out there that are struggling to find a decent job. I have a feeling Anglo will be hiring soon.

      lacrimose.wolf - 2012-10-24 18:53

      They'll have to because shafts that go un-mined for more than 3 months have to be moth-balled and the re-start costs are usually not worth the resultant output. So we could see many shafts closed for good if they can't find people with the right skills to get going soon

  • xanavin.vonbuchenroder - 2012-10-24 18:43

    I guess they going too strike now for not having jobs. Welcome to FREEDOM. They are FREE but will remain DOM.

  • badladballie - 2012-10-24 18:43

    Respect your employer and be grateful for the huge risk he is taking (without any help or handouts from government) to create your job. Be careful because one day he may feel it is just not worth the hassle of employing you.....

  • mabhekana.nzuza - 2012-10-24 18:47

    They must go 2 Malemas farm wherby they will earn more peanuts.

  • altusvanzyl - 2012-10-24 18:53


      Thokozani Candy Ntsele - 2012-10-24 20:29

      whats lekker,without a strike in mine nothing would be resolved,now the mine boss have learn a lesson

      merven.halo - 2012-10-25 07:20

      I think it is the striking miners that got taught a lesson.

  • kobus.hattingh.5 - 2012-10-24 18:57

    If they thought life was tough prior to striking, its just become A LOT harder.

      lacrimose.wolf - 2012-10-24 19:09

      and a lot harder for 192 000 people. 180 000 of which were never asked what they thought or whose futures were even considered.

  • johan.wilsnach - 2012-10-24 19:01

    High time we see the right action at the right time.

  • lioneldelange - 2012-10-24 19:08

    Well done. Its time these idiots stopped trying to hold the country and business to ransom.

  • lindani.zulu2 - 2012-10-24 19:40

    They will be re instated.. All Of them

  • asdhasgd - 2012-10-24 19:46

    I wonder if these workers thought they were gonna get paid while striking?

      lacrimose.wolf - 2012-10-24 20:20

      I wonder if they thought at all. An unprotected strike is something covered in policies, procedures and in the laws passed POST 1994 for this very eventuality. They made a decision to go ahead anyway and damn the consequences. These are the consequences. Now they'll start thinking. If the last 3 months are anything to go by, it is unlikely it will be rational

  • Thokozani Candy Ntsele - 2012-10-24 20:24

    that was the waist of time,if they still wanna run that company they cant dismiss lot of people like this .

      fabian.houten - 2012-10-24 20:47

      uuum... there are millions of unemployed people that will be happy to fill the positions... wake up

      fabian.houten - 2012-10-24 20:54

      ... until they decide to strike that is

  • bertus.smit.94 - 2012-10-24 20:52

    And Amplats folds, willing to discuss re-instatement of those fired? Just so they can do exactly the same next year? Whats the saying, only a donkey will hit his head twice against the same rock?

  • wimpie.vanaswegen - 2012-10-24 21:06

    Killing the economy

  • arie.vdplaats.3 - 2012-10-24 21:07

    The prediction that they are going to strike themselves out of their jobs has now become a reality !!! The claim "I will not return to work unless the salary is increased to R 12 500 per month" has now also become true except that there is no longer a job to go back to !!!

  • trevor.pietersen.3 - 2012-10-24 21:17

    Shirbit..... is that all...lets DANCE....THEY could have had R12500.00 now THEY gotta eat SAND....let the others work that want to.

  • mart.botha - 2012-10-24 21:21

    Where are all the labour brokers when you need them ?

  • mart.botha - 2012-10-24 21:38

    I demand that SARS stops taxing my wages. They take my hard earned money and place it in the hands of a bunch of turkeys who either steal it, waste it, share it out to a chosen few, or they lose it. The people that I wish could benefit from my tax money are being taken for a ride and will never receive sustainable value, and again, the turkeys are to blame. (Obesity is rife amongst the upper echelons, in the corridors of power.....I wonder why!)

  • trevor.roberts.148 - 2012-10-24 23:46

    The only way. Fire them,no reinstatement.

  • robert.doyle.712 - 2012-10-25 03:33


  • vivian.harris.73 - 2012-10-25 06:30

    Bunch of they can be hired back at less than what they were getting....

  • glen.clark.37669 - 2012-10-25 15:18

    Wonder if Julius is going to go and "chat" to them now?

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