Workers at Anglo American Platinum (LON:ALL), the world's largest platinum producer, staged a sit-in strike at one of the company’s underground mines in South Africa on Friday in protest of the firing of several of their leaders, a union representative told AFP.
Between 3,000 to 4,000 people were striking at Amplats’ Thembelani mine in Rustenburg, said an Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) spokesman, adding that at least 2,400 of them were being held down in the mine by colleagues.
“There is zero tolerance to any illegal actions which include intimidation, threats of violence and assault,” Anglo American Platinum said in a statement.
"Our protection services teams are on the ground attending to the situation. Management is currently engaging with recognized unions at regional and at head office levels to resolve the situation," it said.
AMCU and rival union the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) have been in a bloody war for dominance at the mines that has resulted in violent strikes and assassinations.
The incident is the latest wildcat action to hit South Africa’s platinum belt. The country, Africa's largest economy, accounts for 75% of world PGM output.
The nation’s mining sector, which accounts for 6% of gross domestic product, has been repeatedly hit by disputes over low wages that reflect widespread anger over enduring inequalities in the economy.
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