Platinum workers ignore strike
Johannesburg - The world’s two largest platinum producers
said on Wednesday they were not affected by a one-day nationwide strike that has brought South
Africa’s gold mines to a halt and also hit the
Tens of thousands joined a one-day national strike on
Wednesday as the country’s biggest labour group Cosatu protested about
new road tolls and short-term contract labour agencies that it says exploit
workers and perpetuate inequalities.
Bullion producers Gold Fields [JSE:GFI] and Harmony Gold Mining Company [JSE:HAR] both reported
that their staff who belong to the Cosatu-affilated National Union of
Mineworkers (Num) had downed tools for the day.
But Anglo Platinum [JSE:AMS] and Impala Platinum Holdings
[JSE:IMP], the world’s No 1 and 2 producers respectively, said they were
“We have not been impacted at all,” Implats executive Johan
Theron, who heads human resources, told Reuters.
Implats is just recovering from a six-week illegal strike at
its Rustenburg mine, the world’s biggest platinum operation, and any stoppage
would have set back the ramp-up of output there.
“There was no strong support for the call to strike,” said
Theron, who said one of the reasons Implats workers had shrugged off the call
was “potential Num and Cosatu hostility”.
The illegal stayaway at Rustenburg cost the company 120 000
ounces in lost output and a loss of income of R2.4bn.
Amplats said the number of its workers who joined the strike
was not enough to “affect operations significantly”.
“Our operations are in production,” said Amplats
spokesperson Mpumi Sithole.
The strike includes workers from other sectors of the
economy. Its immediate targets are new road tolls around Johannesburg and
short-term contract labour agencies.