South African miners strikes spread
Strikers at Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine.

Striking workers have paralysed a gold mine in South Africa, fuelling fears that mounting discontent could spread to the entire mining sector and grip the continent's economic powerhouse for months.

Demanding the removal of their local union leadership and asking for tax-free bonuses, 15,000 Gold Fields workers downed tools at its KDC mine west of Johannesburg.

The stoppage, coming exactly a month after a deadly strike was launched at Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine that left 44 dead, is the latest to hit South Africa's vital mining sector.

Mining accounts for a fifth of GDP but the sector - which has become a symbol of the huge economic and social discrepancies that continue to plague post-apartheid South Africa - is also a major political battleground.

The Gold Fields strike started off when the night shift did not report for duty on Sunday.

"They are demanding the removal of NUM branch leadership," said Gold Fields spokesman Sven Lunsche, referring to the National Union of Mineworkers, a large union allied to the ruling ANC party.

Placards the workers carried called for 12,500 rand ($A1500) a month, echoing the Lonmin strikers' demands.

Mr Lunsche said the company had secured a court order to end the illegal strike.

Meanwhile, the strike at Lonmin clocked one month on Monday as some 10,000 stick-wielding platinum miners marched and chanted songs against President Jacob Zuma.

Just slightly over six per cent of the workers turned up for the job on Monday as strikers muscled into mine shafts to force them to shut.

Michael Kahabo, a striker, said they want all work at the mine to shut down. "It's a small percentage but they must stop working, to join the strike."

"As for me, I can't go back to work without 12,500 rand pay a month," a 52-year-old load operator Sello Ntsibane, said.

Wage talks due to start on Monday had to be adjourned as mediators waited for non-unionised workers' representatives to show up, said Lonmin spokeswoman Sue Vey.

One leader reached by phone said they would not attend the talks until there was a guarantee that demands for a threefold increase in pay would be discussed.

They also refused to sign a peace deal last Thursday when Lonmin management and most unions agreed to restore calm.

"If they say we are going to talk about money, yes we will go. But if it's this peace accord, we don't have anything to do with the peace agreement because we don't benefit from it," Molisi Phele said.

The wildcat strike has already left 44 people dead, 34 of them shot by police in a crackdown days after clashes between workers killed 10.

Another platinum mine Implats reported that a workers committee linked to a union rival to NUM, has forwarded a demand for a 10 per cent pay rise.

The West Australian

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