Strikes commence at three Amplats operations

by admin 0

The South African platinum company recorded low attendance at three of its mines following the initiation of industrial action by Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) affiliated employees, and expects production to be impacted by the strike action.

“We are adamant that we will continue to engage with Amcu and have accepted the offer by the deputy president for a government facilitated mediation process in order to find a resolution. Striking is not a constructive solution if we are to return the company to a sustainable financial footing and secure existing jobs,” said [DATA AMS:Anglo American Platinum] chief executive Chris Griffith.

It also requested that striking employees respect their fellow colleagues’ right to report to work, and for peace and stability during the strike.

“Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) confirms that the strike is legal only for Amcu affiliated employees and not for Num, Numsa and UASA members. The company has ensured through the CCMA that Amcu is aware of the picketing rules and that its members must utilise designated picketing areas,” the platinum company said.

“The company will work together with law enforcement agencies to help maintain peace and stability during the strike. Additional safety and security measures have been employed in and around operations.”

Amplats, along with Lonmin Plc and Impala Platinum, released a joint statement on Wednesday declaring that a strike would not benefit workers, and that the industry could not afford unrealistic wage demands.

The company also announced that its 2013 headline earnings per share were expected to be between 480 and 590 cents, indicating that its return to profit stemmed from higher sales volumes and a favourable rand/dollar exchange rate.

According to media reports, the South African government and Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe have offered to mediate in the strikes so as to prevent it from crippling the country’s economy any further. 

Elsewhere, gold producer, [DATA HAR:Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited] confirmed that Amcu’s proposed strikes at its Kusasalethu and Masimong mines had been suspended pending a judgment from the Labour Court in Gauteng.

“The main grounds for the application were that an agreement for the gold sector was reached last September with the National Union of Mineworkers, UASA and Solidarity which, between them, represent a majority of employees in the sector,” Harmony Gold said.

“The Labour Court stated that it was unable to give its judgment immediately and needed time to consider the arguments by both parties and will make its judgment on 30 January 2014. The court ordered that the strike may not take place in the interim.”