We will not negotiate salary: Gold Fields

By Drum Digital
19 September 2012

Gold Fields said on Wednesday that it would not and could not negotiate the salary demands of striking workers at its KDC west operations, near Carletonville, on the West Rand.

"We are not going to negotiate salary, and we cannot," said spokesman Sven Lunsche.

"The gold mining industry, unlike the platinum industry, negotiates in a collective bargaining forum. All gold mining companies negotiate jointly with the trade unions."

He said the companies and the unions were in the midst of the latest agreement, a two-year wage and salary accord by the industry and the unions, led by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).

"For one member to unilaterally raise new issues is not done. We cannot suddenly, unilaterally negotiate separate salaries with our KDC workers."

The accords had worked well for the industry and the unions for almost the last two decades, he said.

At KDC west, a strike by 15,000 employees continued.

"The strike is still continuing and our engagement efforts also continue at this time," said Lunsche.

Gold Fields chief executive Nick Holland said in a newspaper report on Wednesday that Gold Fields was losing 1400 ounces a day because of the strike, and that this represented 15 percent of the group's production.

The company's other operations could sustain it, Business Day reported.

"We could go on for quite some time. We are a very strong company financially," Holland said.

He said KDC consisted of mature operations, and with the company having made US161 million (about R1.3bn) in cash flow over the last quarter, for assets that had been in production for 40 to 50 years, this represented an adequate return.

The company obtained a Labour Court interdict declaring the strike unprotected last week. This means legal protective processes related to an industrial dispute were not followed.

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