The Minister of Mineral Resources Gwede Mantashe his expressed his dissatisfaction with globally diversified gold producer Gold Fields approach to retrenchments. 

Mantashe met with Gold Fields executives, in efforts to resolve the current impasse where the company wants to retrench an estimated 1 100 employees and 400 contractors at its South Deep Mine.

The department began engagements with Gold Fields in August 2018 to find alternatives to the company’s proposed retrenchment plan.

It is also a matter of great concern when a strike in the sector is prolonged, as this has an adverse impact on the economy.

Employees at the mine have been on strike since the 2nd of November 2018 to protest retrenchments at the mine.

“We don’t believe the company is acting in good faith,” comments Mantashe

“They have merely engaged in a tick-box exercise for compliance purposes.

“This is a disturbing approach, and we remain unhappy with the way the process has unfolded thus far.

“We continue to urge employers in the sector to be responsible, as we are dealing with people’s lives when we talk of possible retrenchments, and not mere numbers,” Mantashe adds.

The strike continues

Gold Fields last week advised that the strike at its South Deep mine by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) continued into its third week.

The mine has not been able to produce since the commencement of the strike, resulting in a cash burn of around R6 m per day, as revenue losses were partially offset by lower operating costs, including the application of the no-work, no-pay rule.

To date, striking employees have lost over R55 million in total in wages and earnings.

South Deep this week commenced paying out the retrenchment packages of 1,082 affected employees, including payments for the 178 employees who took voluntary severance packages.