Gold Fields Mine Threatens To Sack Strikers
One of the mining companies suffering amid the spread of industrial unrest in South Africa has issued an ultimatum to 23,500 staff to return to work or face the sack.
South African bullion producer Gold Fields, the world's fourth largest gold miner, has been among the companies facing union demands for better wages.
Disruption to output at its mines in the country has so far cost it 65,000 ounces of lost gold production worth almost £85m.
Chief executive Nick Holland said: "The company has issued an ultimatum to all striking workers... to present to work by no later than 1400 hours Thursday 18 October 2012 or face immediate dismissal."
The warning affects two-thirds of the company's workforce.
It comes as unrest continues throughout the country - with dozens of arrests made at Samancor's chrome mine amid reports of rubber bullets being fired by police.
Around 3,000 people were thought to be involved in the protest, which saw demonstrators clash with authorities.
The site is not far from Lonmin's Marikana platinum facility, where 34 workers were shot dead in August.
Protests have also spread beyond the mining industry, with some 200,000 council workers due to stop working later this week over pay-related issues.
The unrest has damaged confidence among investors and forced Standard & Poor's and Moody's to downgrade South Africa's credit rating.
About 80,000 mineworkers, representing 16% of the mining workforce, are currently striking across South Africa.