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Amplats threatens strikers with sacking

Nov 12 2012 09:02 Reuters

Striking Amplats mineworkers. Picture: Lucky Nxumalo/City Press

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Johannesburg - Anglo Platinum [JSE:AMS] (Amplats) urged its striking workers to return work on Monday or face sacking, just days after laying out a revised wage deal that miners say they will not accept.

The world's No 1 platinum producer said it was too early to tell whether South African miners on an illegal strike will return after the company told them to resume work or face being fired.

"We will have an idea later in the morning," Amplats spokesperson Mpumi Sithole told Reuters when asked whether the miners were reporting for duty.

But a labour leader at Amplats said the strike was ongoing as no agreement had been reached.

"It's only the management that decided the workers should go back to work without an agreement. Nobody went to work, the strike is still going on," Evans Ramokga told Reuters.

Amplats said on Friday it offered a R4 500 one-off payment and agreed to start wage talks ahead of the expiry of current agreements next year in a bid to get around 30 000 workers back on the job at several of its mines.

The offer would lapse if workers do not show up for work on Monday.

The cost of the wildcat action, in its second month, is mounting and Amplats said it had lost almost 168 000 ounces in platinum production, worth over $250m at current spot prices.

South Africa's gold and platinum sectors have been shaken by months of illegal and often violent strikes which have resulted in the deaths of around 50 people so far this year.

Most of the affected gold operations are back to work but Amplats, a unit of global mining giant Anglo American, is still struggling with crippling strikes at a time when the viability of its operations is being scrutinised.

"Should this offer not be accepted, the company will have no other option but... effect the dismissals of the Rustenburg employees," the company's chief executive said in a statement.



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