Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 03 March 2010 – South Africa’s biggest trade union “’ the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) “’ says it has cancelled plans for an indefinite strike at Gold Fields’ operations in the country that would have stopped output at the world’s No.4 gold producer.
The union had announced earlier that it would start the strike on Sunday and continue until the company abolished a contentious work health and safety fitness test, which it claimed was being used to lay off staff.
“The Union has decided to suspend the strike action at Gold Fields after the company agreed yesterday to accede to our demands,” the NUM said in a statement issued here.
Gold Fields “’ Africa’s second biggest gold producer “’ agreed to suspend the use of external service providers in conducting functional work capacity testing. “We will engage with the union in the next few months to iron out the differences, but all this will be done in compliance with the mining act,” Gold Field’s spokesman Sven Lunsche said.
Both sides agreed to find appropriate tests to assess the functional and physical ability of mineworkers.
The union had said earlier that Gold Fields had used the test as a tool for laying off existing workers, but the gold producer had argued that the examination “’ a requirement under South African mining laws “’ had been in use since 2006 to test only new recruits to ensure that they met the standards of fitness required to work underground.