Amplats job cuts: 6,900 in September

Chris Griffith, CEO of Anglo American Platinum

Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) (LON:AAL) is moving forward with massive job cuts promised at the beginning of the year: Nearly 7,000 South Africans working for the world’s largest platinum producer will be out of work come September.

In January the company had warned these cuts were coming and initially hinted it may slash 14,000 positions. In May, Amplats said 6,000 jobs were on the line. The new figure of 6,900 includes 900 corporate jobs recently added to the chopping block. However, the final tally will depend on voluntary severance packages, early retirements and the number of employees moved to other posts.

Employees at Anglo’s Rustenburg operations will take the biggest hits. The miner is consolidating its Khuseleka and Union projects and production capacity will decrease by 250,000 ounces per year.

Like its competitor Lonmin, Amplats has had many labour issues lately ranging from wage disputes to union turf wars. Earlier this year a violent standoff between competing unions led to a strike. Last year the company fired 12,000 workers after a three-week strike Amplats deemed “illegal.”

Labour action has been particularly strong since August 2012 when dozens of Lonmin miners were killed by South African police during protests.

The move is part the company’s restructuring plan aimed at cutting costs – a plan which has been in the works since the beginning of 2012.

“We are very aware of the impact this process has on our employees and we are working hard to finalise the details of our Social Impact Mitigation Plan aimed at minimising the impact on employees and affected communities,” Chris Griffith, the firm’s CEO said in a statement on Monday.