The impact of working ”eleven shift fortnight” schedule on labour efficiency in a gold mine within a South African setup
This study reports on the impact of the working “11 shift fortnight” schedule at a selected gold mine in the Welkom area in South Africa on labour efficiency and utilisation. The main question was that is this schedule a bottleneck. Production employees work for at least five or six consecutive days, an average of 10 hours daily to be able to complete the job of the day. South African gold mines have become deeper, and the places of work are far from the entrance to mine stations, which lead to challenges such as the supply of material, compressed air and other resources needed for the safe production. Employees travel long distances underground before they start doing productive work. Production is based on targets to be achieved and not working hours. The study was quantitative in nature. Questionnaires were used to collect data on demographics and constructs intended to extract the data with a response rate of 75% on a population of 200. The impact of the 11-shift fortnight on the employees includes fatigue where most employees are continuously tired due to lack of rest, employees frequently getting sick which leads to high labour unavailability, employees not being able to spend enough time with their immediate families and relatives which compromises family structures. The main factors contributing negatively to labour productivity as per the survey are material or tools, services and safety issues. This has an impact on the performance of the team because their performance is measured on their output. This 11-shifts fortnight shift arrangement is a hindrance to mine productivity. Labour utilisation and efficiency, safety, social life and labour availability are negatively affected. Management is, therefore, advised to adopt some of the recommendation given in this study to mitigate the effect of this schedule on productivity.