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Gold Fields issues ultimatum

The company called on mineworkers to return to work by 2pm on Thursday or face immediate dismissal.

Goldfields miners gather at a stadium in Driefontein, demanding a wage hike. Picture: Theo Nkonki/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Gold Fields on Tuesday issued an ultimatum to striking employees.

The mining company called on workers to return to work by 2pm on Thursday or face immediate dismissal.

Around 23,500 employees out of the company's 36,000-strong workforce are on strike at three operations in Gauteng and the Free State.

Gold Fields CEO Nick Holland said the ultimatum only applied to 9,000 workers.

This does not include the 8,500 workers at the KDC East Mine who went on strike this week.

Holland said they were forced to issue the ultimatum after exhausting all legal avenues to try and end the impasse.

"The company is now left with no option but to exercise its rights, according to Constitution, to protect its business and its people."

SAMANCOR

At least 26 striking miners have been arrested following an illegal protest outside the Samancor Chrome Mine in Mooinooi in the North West.

This follows an incident where a policeman was hacked with a panga earlier on Tuesday.

A group of 3,000 miners gathered outside the Western Chrome shaft, calling for mine management to address their demands for higher wages.

The workers have been on strike since September, when they staged an underground sit-in for two days.

Police spokesperson Thulane Ngubane said the officer sustained an injury to his left arm and is recovering in hospital.

"Of the 26 people arrested, one person is a suspect and has been charged with attempted murder for injuring a police officer with a panga."