Mixed reaction to Amplats dismissals

Oct 05 2012 17:45
Amplats worker

Amplats worker (Picture: AFP)

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Cape Town - Hundreds of Fin24 users were elated on Friday on the news that Anglo Platinum [JSE:AMS] (Amplats) has fired 12 000 striking workers at its Rustenburg operations, following through on earlier threats to get tough on miners.

The company said the three-week strike has already cost it R700m in lost revenue as a result of the reduced platinum production, while total lost platinum production amounted to 39 000 ounces.

Shares in the world No 1 platinum miner jumped 3% on the news, signalling that investors were happy with the move.

Fin24 user Christelle James wrote that maybe this will send out a positive message to the world - "South Africa will no longer be held ransom by thugs!"

Nicholas Graan was a bit sceptical, calling the dismissals "scare tactics". "They will start rehiring in a couple of weeks as part of an agreement ...seen it too often before."

Gavin Wolff congratulated Amplats on the move, saying "somebody has to stop this slide into anarchy".

Malose Nyatlo said it's about time, but pitied the ones losing their jobs. "A pity that those who were in the system longer will lose out on pension and other benefits. Those who are unemployable might have had final contact with formal employment and will be the state's burden upon retirement.

"We need legislation which will prosecute ring leaders of illegal strikes and protests," he wrote.

Karin Coetzer Swanepoel
wrote on Facebook that she doesn't blame Amplats. "Even this strike of the transport workers are now going beyond the limit of reasonable demands.

"Employees can't simply demand and the employer must agree. Do workers (including miners) realise what expenses there are involved in running a company or mine on a daily basis?

"If a strike is illegal, I believe workers have to be disciplined," said Karin.

But Michael Moshohli Mailula disagreed. He said Amplats should not have compromised in a situation like this, because they are dealing with people's lives. "In my opinion its a wrong move."

Thembelani Ndlazi
said Amplats is mad. "This is our country and beneath the soil lies national resources for citizens.

"If they think they will hire from elsewhere to till SA land, indeed we, who are the true owners must fire Amplats," to which Dv Moodley replied: "Ever owned a business Thembelani?"

The ANC Youth League also denounced the move in a statement, calling the company a "disgrace".

"This action demonstrates the insensibility and insensitivity of the company, the world's largest platinum producer, which has made astronomical profits on the blood, sweat and tears of the very same workers that today the company can just fire with impunity.

"Amplats is a disgrace and a disappointment to the country at large, a representation of white monopoly capital out of touch and uncaring of the plight of the poor," the organisation said.

Late on Friday, Amplats confirmed the dismissal of 12 000 striking workers in an announcement to shareholders.

"Despite the company’s repeated calls for employees to return to work, we have continued to experience attendance levels of less than 20%," it said in a statement distributed via the Stock Exchange News Service.

Amplats said disciplinary hearings for striking workers had been completed and affected employees would have three working days to lodge an appeal.

"Approximately 12 000 striking employees chose not to make representations, nor attend the hearings, and have therefore been dismissed in their absence," the company said.

Meanwhile, the rand extended losses against the dollar to 2% and government bonds fell sharply after Amplats said it had dismissed around 12 000 striking workers, escalating a labour crisis that has dented investor confidence.

The rand hit a session trough of R8.6950/$, edging closer to a 3-1/2 year low, while the yield on the three year bond rose as much as 13 basis points to 5.45%.

The yield for the longer dated 2026 bond jumped 17.5 basis points to a session high of 7.7%.
amplats  |  mahikeng  |  labour  |  mining  |  mining unrest



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