Gold Fields fires 8,500 striking workers as mining companies get tough on unrest

Gold Fields (NYSE:GFI) has fired 8,500 striking workers at a mine in South Africa following their failure to respond to an ultimatum to abandon the strike.

Bloomberg reports that the retrenchments come just as other leading miners in South Africa get tough on the wave of labour unrest and wildcat strikes which has afflicted the nation's resources sector since August.

Africa's biggest gold producer AngloGold Ashanti (NYSE:AU) has issued a "final call" for all striking miners to resume their work duties by midday tomorrow or face retrenchment, while Harmony Gold (NYSE:HMR) has issued a similar ultimatum to its own restive miners.

AngloGold, which derives a third of its output from South Africa, was forced to suspend operations in the country at the end of September after suffering heavy losses as a result of the strikes.

The spate of labour unrest in South Africa's mining sector has persisted for over two months, first hitting the platinum sector before spreading swiftly to gold, iron ore and other areas.