Johannesburg, South Africa — 20 September 2012 – As Lonmin miners celebrate the successful end to their six-week strike, Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) has issued an ultimatum to striking workers, saying its employees are compelled to report for duty from this evening.
Miningmx reports that the company last week closed its Rustenburg operations, citing intimidation and fears over safety, but it has since deemed conditions to have normalised sufficiently to resume work at its five major shafts in the region.
“The increase in police visibility and action has created an environment conducive for our employees to return to work, and isolated incidents of intimidation and violence are being dealt with,” the company said in a statement issued here yesterday.
“Given the authorities’ assessment that it is safe to go to work, the company is now left with no alternative but to declare those who have not returned to work to be participating in illegal industrial action,” the statement added.
The company said that it had told its employees they had to return to work by the night shift today, failing which “legal avenues will be pursued.”
South African police fired tear gas and rubber bullets yesterday to disperse protesters near a mine run by Amplats, as unrest spread after strikers at rival Lonmin won big pay rises.
Within hours of Lonmin accepting pay rises of up to 22%, workers at nearby mines called for similar raises, spelling more trouble after six weeks of industrial action that claimed 46 lives and rocked South Africa’s economy.
The death toll from the unrest rose to 46 yesterday when a woman struck by a rubber bullet when police dispersed mine protesters at the weekend, died in hospital.
“We want management to meet us as well now,” said an organiser for the militant Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) at Impala Platinum, the second biggest platinum producer.
Jubilant workers at Lonmin’s Marikana mine, 100 km (60 miles) northwest of Johannesburg, painted the wage deal as a victory for AMCU over the dominant National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), an ally of the ruling African National Congress.
Source: Miningmx. For more information, click here.