Anglo Platinum confirms large-scale lay-offs

South Africa's Anglo Platinum (JSE:AMS), the world's largest primary platinum producer, has confirmed the lay-off of 725 employees from its central services and support functions, provoking the ire of the mining industry's national union.

According to the South African Broadcasting Corporation the company has already issued a formal section 189 notice informing workers of the decision.

Spokeswoman Mpumi Sithole said the company "engaged all stakeholders to explore retrenchment avoidance i.e. re-skilling and redployment. These options as well as the offer of voluntary separation packages have been declined."

South Africa's National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has said it is "appalled" at the lay-offs, and that Anglo Platinum's actions are contrary to its promises of a 100-day plan for stakeholders.

NUM also expressed its disappointment that the retrenchment arrived at a time when Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu was establishing a forum to deal with platinum sector disputes.

Anglo Platinum announced the temporary suspension of operations last month due to weak prices making production unprofitable.