Johannesburg, South Africa — 28 September 2012 – The world’s top platinum producer, Anglo American Platinum, has started disciplinary action, which could possibly include dismissal, against the thousands of workers taking part in an illegal strike in South Africa.
Reuters quotes the company as saying that attendance at its four mines near Rustenburg, 120 km north-west of Johannesburg, remained below 20% despite repeated threats to get tough.
A wave of wildcat strikes has been hammering South Africa’s mining sector despite the end of an illegal six-week stoppage at platinum producer Lonmin in which 46 people were killed.
Amplats’ chief executive Chris Griffith said the company would start making good on threats to sack workers if they did not report for duty within 24 hours.
“Despite repeatedly urging our employees to come back to work, attendance at our Rustenburg operations remains low,” he said. “We have been left with no choice but to initiate disciplinary action, which could lead to dismissals.”
Rustenburg labour activist and community representative Mametlwe Sebei struck a defiant tone, saying striking Amplats workers were not intimidated by the ultimatum.
“No amount of threats is going to move our workers from their demands,” he told Reuters.
The demands include an increase in a minimum monthly wage to R12,500, more than double that currently earned by those at the bottom of the pay scale.
When rival Impala Platinum fired 17,000 illegal strikers in the same area in January, it unleashed a wave of violence that closed its Rustenburg operation, the world’s largest platinum mine, for 6 weeks. Three people were killed.
Source: Reuters Africa. For more information, click here.