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Fri Dec 19 09:13:06 CAT 2014

Striking miners reject Amplats' new offer to return

REUTERS | 10 November, 2012 16:20
Striking platinum miners march near the Anglo-American Platinum mine near Rustenburg, North West Province. File photo.
Image by: PICTURE: REUTERS

More than 30,000 striking workers at Anglo American Platinum's Rustenburg mines in South Africa rejected the firm's new return-to-work offer on Saturday, a labour leader said.

Amplats said on Friday it offered a R4,500 ($520) one-off payment and agreed to start wage talks ahead of the expiry of current agreements next year.

The offer would lapse if workers do not show up for work on Monday, Amplats said.

"Nobody is going back to work on Monday. The strike continues," labour leader Evans Ramokga said. "We are not happy with the conditions on the offer like the final warnings and threats of disciplinary actions for dismissed workers."

The company fired 12,000 workers who went on an illegal work stoppage in Rustenburg.

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 $250 million at current spot prices.

The one-off allowance would cost the world top producer of the white metal R220 million.

But the company said it could not afford the wage increase demands being made. Workers want a salary increase of 4,500 per month, which would add about R2.6 billion to the company's wage bill, it said.

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 are being scrutinised.

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