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Mantashe unhappy with Gold Fields after job talks

Most workers at Gold Fields’ struggling South Deep mine have been on strike since 2 November over the company’s plans to cut around 1,100 jobs, or 30% of its workforce.

FILE: Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe. Picture: @DMR_SA/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s Gold Fields is not acting in good faith in talks with the government over planned job cuts, mining minister Gwede Mantashe said on Monday, a setback for negotiations aimed at ending a weeks-long strike.

Most workers at Gold Fields’ struggling South Deep mine have been on strike since 2 November over the company’s plans to cut around 1,100 jobs or 30% of its workforce.

Mantashe, who wants to save jobs in the mining sector, said he met Gold Fields executives on Monday evening but could not resolve the “current impasse”.

“We don’t believe the company is acting in good faith. They have merely engaged in a tick-box exercise for compliance purposes,” Mantashe said in a statement.

“This is a disturbing approach, and we remain unhappy with the way the process has unfolded thus far.”

A Gold Fields spokesperson did not respond to calls for comment.

Gold Fields reported a 3% drop in third-quarter production this month, partly due to the numerous operational problems at South Deep, a mine in a tough geological setting 3 kilometres below the surface.

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