Johannesburg - Anglo Platinum [JSE:AMS] has had
"constructive" consultations with the South African government about
the company's restructuring exercise that could lead to 14 000 job cuts, chief
executive Chris Griffith said on Tuesday.
"We have had very constructive conversations. I think
our relationship is sort of back where it should be, this is going to be a
difficult process", Griffith told Talk Radio 702.
Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu said the company
had betrayed government trust earlier this month by announcing a plan to
mothball shafts and lay off workers under a restructuring by parent company
Griffith told the radio Amplats was trying desperately to
keep the business alive given tough market conditions.
"This is not about playing games. The company is in
real trouble and we have to collectively do something," Griffith said.
Last week, President Jacob Zuma said the government needed
to engage with gold and platinum mining firms about proposed shaft closures and
lay-offs, and was not threatening them with licence reviews.
On Monday the mineral resources department, Amplats and
unions met and decided to postpone the Section 189 process under the Labour
"(The meeting resolved to) expedite the consultation
process and take no more than 60 days, beginning January 30," they said in
a joint statement.
"The tripartite members re-committed to engage
constructively for the benefit of all stakeholders and will communicate
progress updates as and when appropriate."
The unions represented at Amplats are the National Union of
Mineworkers, the Associated Mineworkers & Construction Union, the National
Union of Metalworkers of South Africa and Uasa.
Amplats announced the retrenchments on January 15.
The vast majority of job cuts - 13 000 - would be lost
around Rustenburg, that was at the centre of violent labour unrest last August
South Africa boasts 80% of the world's platinum deposits.
Producers have been hit by rising input costs, falling prices, safety stoppages
and violent labour unrest.