Johannesburg, South Africa — 19 October 2012 – Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) says it will hold off on dismissing striking workers at its Union and Amandelbult mines, but is not prepared to reconsider the reinstatement of the 12,000 former employees it dismissed at its Rustenburg operations.
In a statement issued here, Reuters quotes Amplats as saying it would expedite discussions with its three recognised trade unions – the National Union of Mineworkers, UASA as well as the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa – to help facilitate the return of its Union and Amandelbult employees to work. Such negotiations would include the issue of bringing wage talks forward. At present, attendance levels continue to be below 20%.
“To enable the process to proceed smoothly, the company has decided to delay the dismissal process at Union and Amandelbult mines to afford these negotiations every chance of success,” the company said. “Anglo American Platinum confirms that while it remains its stated position that we will not reinstate the 12000 dismissed Rustenburg employees, the company has agreed with its recognised unions that it is willing to discuss their status as part of this engagement.”
Said CEO Chris Griffith: “We are faced with extremely complex challenges that require innovative solutions which will address the very real economic issues affecting the entire platinum industry. We believe that it is only right for us to engage with our recognised unions and work together to find the best way forward.”
Gold Fields reports that workers at Beatrix one, two, and three started returning to work on Tuesday morning. They had been on a wildcat strike since September 24. By Wednesday, there was a full turnout of 6200 employees at the three Beatrix shafts.
Yesterday, workers at Beatrix four returned. Before the deadline, half of KDC west’s workers had clocked in. By 2pm, the figure had risen to around 90%, about 11 000 workers.
Jacobsz said at the KDC East mine, which was not covered by the ultimatum, 8000 employees remained on strike.
Hundreds of miners gathered on a hilltop off the mine’s property for a meeting later yesterday, where they decided to stop miners who wanted to return to their posts.
Throughout the day, Gold Fields security guards remained stationed at a barricade on the road leading to the hilltop, allowing only pedestrians through. They stopped and searched cars entering and leaving the mine.
One miner, who did not want to be named, said he was worried about Friday “Something is going to happen tomorrow.”
Source: Reuters Africa. For more information, click here.