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Gold Fields and NUM sign formal agreement ending South Deep strike - Mining Weekly

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

The 45-day strike at Gold Fields’ South Deep mine has officially ended following signing of a formal settlement agreement between the JSE- and NYSE-listed company and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).

Employees have been returning to work since last Thursday, when the union called off the strike, but the formal agreement was only signed on Tuesday.

Gold Fields explained that in terms of the agreement, the retrenchments of 1 082 employees would go ahead, with most of these retrenchments having already been processed.

Gold Fields’ embarked on a business restructuring and Section 189 retrenchment process at South Deep in mid-August in response to continued high financial losses of about R100-million a month. The NUM branch at South Deep started its strike action on November 2, to protest the retrenchments.

To alleviate the financial burden of employees who were on the ‘no-work no-pay’ strike, South Deep has agreed to deduct the lost earnings over four months and to pay all non-management employees an ex-gratia payment of 20% of basic pay should they have returned to work by December 15. They can also earn back part of their lost earnings if monthly gold production targets were exceeded in January and February, the company said.

“With the strike over and our cost base adjusted to the reduced operating footprint and output, we believe that we are well positioned to put South Deep on a sustainable road to recover and significantly reduce our monthly cash losses at the mine,” Gold Fields CEO Nick Holland said in a statement.

Production is expected to build-up gradually from now on with the mine set to run production during the Christmas/New Year break.

“Detailed mine planning is currently under way and once the full impact of the mine planning exercise and restructuring are complete, we expect to provide guidance for 2019 with our 2018 financial results release in February 2019,” Holland said. 

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