Johannesburg, South Africa — 03 October 2012 – AngloGold Ashanti Limited “’ the world’s third-largest gold producer “’ will not meet its illegally striking workers’ demands outside the formal bargaining structure as Lonmin did
So says AngloGold CEO Mark Cutifani, who insists that giving into the striking workers’ demands would only lead to job losses in the future. “I have no doubt that the implications for those companies that have had to agree to increase wage demands will be job losses “’ absolutely no doubt,” he told reporters at the company’s head office here.
Fin24 reports that in August, a six-week-long illegal strike by Lonmin mine workers in Marikana, Rustenburg, ended with workers and the mine signing an agreement in favour of the workers’ demands. The mineworkers had refused to return to work until management agreed to a R12,500 wage demand.
Cutifani said the closure of a developmental project at Lonmin’s Marikana mine was a sure sign of things to come.
“We’ve already seen one closure of a development project at Lonmin with the K4 shaft,” he said.
“When you start closing down development projects, what does that say about your future?”
Cutifani confirmed that AngloGold Ashanti would not use the same strategy as Lonmin, even though 24,000 of its mine workers were on an unprotected strike. Workers at the operations at its West Wits and Vaal River regions have joined those at Kopanong, who embarked on an unprotected strike on 20 September.
Currently operations at all gold producing mines had stopped.
Since the strike started, no formal demands had been made to management, but on Monday Cutifani said it had learnt, through different sources from unrecognised organisations, that the striking workers were demanding more money.
“If the current unprotected strike continues, it compounds the potential likelihood of a premature downsizing of AngloGold Ashanti’s South African operations.” He said where downsizing and closures occurred, the mine was unlikely to re-open the shafts because of the associated costs.
Cutifani urged striking workers to return to work so a sustainable solution for all could be reached.
“We must be very clear in our message to all striking employees that if people return to work and engage in constructive discussions, we will find a pathway to a sustainable and shared future,” he said.
Cutifini added, however, that the mine could not risk being seen as rewarding illegal, violent, intimidating actions by striking workers. To do so, would cause an unsustainable future for the mine.
Source: Fin24. For more information, click here.