Mineworkers are back
at work today, after
yesterday’s one-day
national strike
 
Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 07 August 2008 – Yesterday’s one-day strike called by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) saw thousands of workers protesting against rising food and energy prices and increasing interest rates. It had a definite effect on the mining industry, with various mines reporting a range of low attendance figures.

Anglo American plc – the biggest investor in South African mining and the world’s fourth-biggest miner – reported that 55% of employees stayed away from its nine coal mines. “All of the sites kept operating, however,” said company spokesman Pranill Ramchander.

Gold Fields Limited – South Africa’s second-largest miner – said attendance had ranged from 7% to 40% at four of its facilities. “We don’t know the impact on production yet,” spokesman Daniel Thole told Bloomberg News.

A spokesman for AngloGold Ashanti was quoted as saying “all our shafts are unlikely to be operating today,” – but the final outcome has not been confirmed.

Anglo Platinum – the world’s largest producer of the metal – had 71 % absenteeism at its Lebowa and Twickenham mines, spokesman Simon Thebele confirmed. “A fifth of workers at the company’s Union mine joined the strike, and 29% at its Waterval Smelter,” he added.

At the Marula mine of Impala Platinum – the world’s second-biggest producer – 40% stayed away, according to spokeswoman Alice Lourens. She said there had been no impact on the company’s Rustenburg operations.

Bloomberg reports that about 10 000 Cosatu members marched toward parliament in downtown Cape Town yesterday, and that thousands joined similar protests in Pretoria, Durban and other towns and cities. The national labour action followed a series of regional walkouts last month.