JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — AngloGold Ashanti has begun the process of firing 12,000 miners on a wildcat strike who defied a deadline to return to work, the latest mass firing of South African mineworkers on illegal strikes over wages.
The employees, primarily from AngloGold Ashanti's mines in the West Wits region northwest of Johannesburg, face dismissal proceedings after failing to turn up to work by noon Wednesday, company spokesman Alan Fine told Reuters.
"While the ultimatum has passed, and the dismissal process has started, management remains in dialogue with employees," AngloGold Ashanti said in a statement.
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On Tuesday, Gold Fields sacked 8,500 wildcat strikers at its KDC East mine who ignored an ultimatum to return to work.
Earlier this month, AngloAmerican Platinum (Amplats), the world's largest platinum producer, fired 12,000 strikers at its Rustenburg operation.
South Africa's mining industry has been hit by a wave of wildcat strikes in the last two months, mainly in the gold and platinum sectors. The continuing strikes have undermined investor confidence and roiled the South African economy.
President Jacob Zuma last week revealed an "action package" toward ending the epidemic of strikes at South Africa's mines, calling for miners to return to work and asking mine bosses to take a salary freeze.
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