Lonmin Miners Strike Again In South Africa

Gold Fields said most miners returned to work at its strike-hit South African operations on Thursday but a new walkout at Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine dampened hopes of an end to the worst labour unrest since apartheid.
More than 80,000 miners have downed tools since August in often violent strikes that are hitting growth and investor confidence in Africa's biggest economy and raising questions about President Jacob Zuma's leadership.

In a surprise move, 4,000 workers at Lonmin's Marikana mine stayed away from work on Thursday, disrupting operations once again at a plant where police killed 34 striking miners in August.

"There have been disruptions at various shafts since yesterday," Lonmin spokeswoman Sue Vey said. The company later said it believed the workers were protesting against the arrest of three miners as part of a police investigation.

Only a month ago the Marikana strikers returned to work after being granted pay increases of up to 22 percent following a six-week strike.

Kumba Iron Ore is expected to resume operations at its giant Sishen mine soon after clearing away strikers who had been occupying the pit for nearly two weeks, but other companies have reported fresh incidents.

Petra Diamonds said production at its Cullinan mine had been hit after a fifth of workers went on strike. Forbes and Manhattan Coal also reported disruptions at two of its mines.

Gold Fields, the world's fourth-largest bullion producer, said all of the 9,000 workers at its Beatrix mine and 80 percent of the 14,300 its KDC West shafts had clocked in, suggesting most of the 11,000 wildcat KDC West strikers had heeded an ultimatum to turn up or face the sack.

"A large number of people have today arrived at the site and clocked their punch cards. The real test now is to see whether they return for the first shift tomorrow morning," company spokesman Willie Jacobsz said.

Gold Fields has said it may issue a similar ultimatum to 8,500 strikers at KDC East.
South Africa 4795885961873386573

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