Amplats threatens strikers with sacking

2012-11-12 09:02

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.

  • herman.booysen2 - 2012-11-12 09:16

    These strikers are overplaying their hand. it is starting to get to a point were , the industry will determine the outcome, no arbitration process, economic decision will take over !

  • ben.alexander.16144 - 2012-11-12 09:33

    That word "threatening" means nothing, go over to action and chase these useless consumers away.

  • Douglas Breakfast - 2012-11-12 09:35

    easier 4 U 2 say bkoz u being paid what Ur work worts those miners r paid peanuts. u dumb fools

      nosiphom.mazibuko - 2012-11-12 10:29

      What are the miners worth? Ar ethey not paid what they are worth? After all, by their admission, they are uneducated! Unlike the miners in Aus.

  • kenpeg.dawson - 2012-11-12 09:42

    What are they waiting for? There are plenty workers to replace those who choose not to work.

  • ryan.a.smith.3958 - 2012-11-12 09:49

    you already dismissed them a month ago you morons. then you took them back. now you threatening to dismiss them again. geniuses

  • heathway.master - 2012-11-12 09:51

    Miners will continue to strike until their initial demand to get R16, 500 clear after all deductions. This relates to a salary of about R25, 000 a month, to basically unskilled, semi-literate workers. As an African miner has told me, the present strikers are regarded by other miners as being the least skilled on the mines, occupying the lowest rung of the employment chain. These miners are anyhow the best paid and looked after in the entire African Continent. The country has a 40% unemployment rate, and due to the world economic crises, many of the mines are running at a loss. South Africans had better brace themselves for typical African States anarchy, lawlessness, violence, death and destruction of all that has taken 100's of years to build up. As mineral production at the world’s largest mines has virtually been brought to a standstill, most marginal mines will be closed down, resulting in the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs, both at the mines and at the thousands of satellite businesses serving the mines. All the newly unemployed will then go on a violent rampage at the loss of their only form of income. This will fuel a never ending cycle of unemployment and further violence, until SA becomes the “BASKET CASE” that so many of its people are so desperately fighting for. This has all been led by unbelievable greed, envy, and an attitude of entitlement. Such crass stupidity is unexplainable.

      ryan.a.smith.3958 - 2012-11-12 10:00

      correct and well explained .. wasnt aware that it was R 16500 after deductions though

      trevor.myburgh.12 - 2012-11-12 10:30

      Who kept them illiterate? Think please, not with blinkers, all you dudes have one track minds

      nosiphom.mazibuko - 2012-11-12 10:31

      Unfortunately some of us are just sitting ducks, with nowhere to run!!

  • asdhasgd - 2012-11-12 09:56

    Fire them all!! there are 16 000 other people who would take their jobs >:)

      trevor.myburgh.12 - 2012-11-12 12:28

      Maybe pay them a bottle of wine a day? lol

  • robert.dood.1 - 2012-11-12 10:03

    Have seen this threat a few times over the past few months. Amplats should address the core of the problem and pay a realistic minimum wage on a par with mining companies in other parts of the world.

      ben.alexander.16144 - 2012-11-12 10:25

      And, robert what is that international minimum wage, taking the Mcdonalds concept into account???

      Erna - 2012-11-12 12:35

      You keep on comparing SA to other parts of the world - you can't do that! The wages these people are earning are more than the minimum wage as determined by the anc government.

  • nosiphom.mazibuko - 2012-11-12 10:22

    The miners say "management will concede to their demand after the strike has crippled the industry". What they do not understand (heads full of concrete) is that after they have crippled the industry, they will have nothing to negotiate with. There will be no job for them. Menawhile Zimbabwe is becoming more attractive, even with the indigenisation programme.

      Erna - 2012-11-12 12:36

      That's what is called a oxymoron. They don't realise that when the strike has crippled the industry, they will have not jobs.

  • robert.dood.1 - 2012-11-12 10:51

    Ben I referred to a realistic min wage and made no mention of the mac concept. An example in Australia the biggest exporter of coal in the world BHP Biliton pay an inexperienced coal miner $400 per day for an eight hour shift. - 2012-11-12 11:28

      Robert - actually, lets do a proper comparison. SA miners earn 3 x more than equivalent level Chinese miners, and 6 times more than equivalent Indian miners ( You are correct that Aus miners earn 10 x more than SA miners, but their produictivity per miner is more than 15 times greater than our miners (if you measure ounces/tons mined per employee). Therefore it is quite clear that SA miners are significantly over-paid (before the ridiculous increases) relevant to their level of productivity. The fact is that global comparisons are almost meaningless unless you manage to hold constant every other variable that contributes to the level of wages paid. This is called regression analysis, and to date I have not found any definitive regression analysis that indicates that, all things being equal, our wages are more, less or equal to wages elsewhere in the world.

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