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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 April, 2005, 16:58 GMT 17:58 UK
South African miners end strike
Worker at Harmony mine
Talks on a restructuring are set to take place this month
Workers at Harmony Gold mines in Free State, South Africa, have reportedly accepted a deal to end an 8-day strike.

The National Union of Mineworkers' (NUM) said 21,000 of its members would return to work on Wednesday evening.

It has been fighting job cuts but the agreement only covers working practices - the official reason for the walk-out, Reuters reported.

Harmony, world's sixth-biggest gold producer, said the strike had cost it $18m (9.5m) in lost revenue.

"The parties have reached an agreement in principle that the issues in dispute have been adequately addressed," Harmony said.

About 90% of the workforce at the Harmony and Freegold sites took part in the strike.

Still tense?

Harmony has announced plans to restructure operations at its loss-making mines in Free State that could bring up to 5,000 jobs cuts.

The company is to hold separate talks with the unions later this month to discuss the restructuring plan, Reuters reported Harmony marketing director Ferdi Dippenaar as saying.

The gold producer has been hit hard by the weak dollar's impact in pushing up the rand as many of its mines are based in South Africa.

The company is also currently involved in a hostile takeover for Gold Fields, a merger which would create South Africa's largest gold producer.

Gold Fields, meanwhile, won a court order forcing 30,000 of its striking employees back to work last week.


SEE ALSO:
Gold Fields wins mine strike case
31 Mar 05 |  Business
South African miners start strike
24 Mar 05 |  Business
What do strikes achieve?
28 Jan 05 |  Africa
No Iamgold merger for Gold Fields
07 Dec 04 |  Business
Gold Fields loses US bid judgment
24 Nov 04 |  Business
Bid to create biggest gold firm
18 Oct 04 |  Business


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