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Guards fire tear gas at striking gold miners in S.Africa

Security guards on Wednesday fired tear gas on hundreds of striking miners at Gold Fields’ KDC mine west of Johannesburg who had tried to stop a moving goods train, the company said.

The workers placed concrete blocks and metal bars on a rail track as a company goods train approached, prompting inhouse security guards fire tear gas, it said.

“A couple of hundreds (of workers) moved to various sites… and tried to intimidate those who were working. They tried to stop the train using cement blocks and iron bars and that was when tear gas was used,” Gold Fields spokesman Sven Lunsche told AFP.

Some 15,000 workers downed tools at the KDC gold mine on Sunday, demanding the removal of their local union leadership, as well as tax-free bonuses and a pay rise.

The stoppage is the latest in a wave of labour unrest to hit South Africa’s vital mining sector.