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Harmony Gold issues ultimatum to miners

Harmony Gold says miners who don’t return to work will be fired.

FILE PICTURE: A mine shaft. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Harmony Gold on Wednesday issued an ultimatum to striking workers to return to their posts or face immediate dismissal.

About 5,500 miners at the Kusasalethu operations started illegal industrial action last month by demanding a basic wage of at least R16,000.

The mine has since suspended its operations.

The company's Marian van der Walt said they will take action against the miners if they fail to show up for work at 6am Thursday morning.

"We've made it very clear that they will be dismissed if they don't show up. We remain hopeful to see them all at the shaft."

Earlier on Wednesday, AngloGold Ashanti announced its intentions to fire thousands of workers who went on a wildcat strike.

It said it was planning to axe around 12,000 miners after they ignored an ultimatum to return to work.

The ultimatum was issued after negotiations between Ashanti and unions deadlocked last week.

AngloGold spokesperson Alan Fine said, "We have now reached a point where we feel we have no choice but to try and bring back normality to our mines."

Operations have been suspended for four weeks, with more than 24,000 employees on strike.

Meanwhile, Goldfields said some of its employees who were fired on Tuesday have started arriving at its KDC East mine to appeal their dismissal.

The mining company fired more than 8,000 workers after they failed to meet a deadline to return to their posts by Tuesday afternoon.

The company's Sven Lunche said, "So far we've had over 1,000 people queing up to appeal the procedure. Independent chairmen will now listen to every single appeal and make a final decision."

Thousands of miners at various other companies, including Gold Fields and Gold One, were fired after they refused to attend disciplinary hearings.

Many miners also failed to return to work on stipulated dates.