Several wildcat strikes in the mining sector continued this week, with companies taking a firmer stance by firing workers or abandoning talks in an attempt to end labour disputes.
The SA Chamber of Mines said it was giving up on negotiations after unions said their members had "mixed reactions" to employers' proposals and could not confirm they would return to work.
"In response, the chamber has indicated that it is not in a position to make any further proposals and that it, and the individual companies, will now explore other avenues to try to bring normality to the gold mining industry," the chamber said in a statement.
Last week, the chamber agreed to give the unions an extension to communicate the proposals to workers. They had until Monday to return with a response.
On behalf of AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields, and Harmony, the chamber had proposed doing away with the lowest wage category, creating a new category for some employees and adjusting the pay of others.
At least one mining company has already taken action.
Gold One sacked 1400 workers last Tuesday. They had been on a week-long wildcat strike at its Ezulwini mine, on the West Rand.
Gold One spokesman Grant Stuart said the employees, of a total workforce of about 1900, had undergone an appeal process on Monday. The outcome had not yet been announced.
Gold Fields suspended operations after its workers went on an illegal strike, the company said on Monday.
Spokesman Willie Jacobsz said about 8500 of 12,400 workers at KDC East (formerly Kloof Gold Mine) downed tools on Sunday, at the start of the night-shift.
"The total number of employees now engaged in the unlawful strike at KDC East and KDC West is approximately 19,500 out of a total workforce of approximately 26,700."
He said production was suspended at the entire KDC.
Workers at KDC West (formerly Driefontein) went on a wildcat strike in September, demanding a R12,500 monthly salary.
Article continues on pages two and three: illegal strikers are ignoring hearings and intimidating those that want to work...