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Illegal strikes have spread throughout the precious metal mines in South Africa, causing major disruptions to production for some of the largest metal companies in the world.
Gold Fields, the world’s fourth largest producer of gold bullion said that the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) had promised last Friday that 15,000 of its members who work at the KDC West mine would return to work yesterday.
Unfortunately, not only did the striking workers not return to the mine, the strike grew to include almost 9,000 workers from the Beatrix mine as well.
Willie Jacobsz, a spokesman for Gold Fields, confirmed to Reuters that “the strike is still on, they ignored the agreement reached Friday night. And the strike has now spread to Beatrix.”
Maybe part of the problem is that the NUM could not really truly speak for the strikers, as one of the demands being made is the resignation of local NUM leaders, as the miners regard the union of being out of touch with their needs, and too close to company managers. Their claims of being out of touch seem to have been perfectly highlighted by this event.
Between the two mines affected by the strike, Gold Fields is losing about 2,300 ounces (65kg) of gold a day.
The illegal strikes first began in the platinum mining sector over wage disputes, and then spread to the gold mines.
By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com