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South African platinum miners back at work, strike unnecessary: Amplats

Amplats workers protest in South Africa. Photo taken in 2012.

Workers at Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), the world’s biggest producer of the metal, began coming back to work Friday as the company and unions reached a deal over plans to cut jobs.

After an almost two-week strike that cost Amplats more than 40,000 ounces in lost production, the company agreed to grant “voluntary separation” packages to 3,300 employees it had previously sought to lay off.

CEO Chris Griffith told a state radio station that both the company and the workers lost with this strike, which cost the company about “1 billion rand ($100 million) in lost revenue”.

“These individuals were offered voluntary separation packages before the strike. They did not need to lose two-weeks wages, they did not need to go on strike,” he told SAFM radio.

The miner, a unit of London-based Anglo American (LON:AAL), said that as part of the strike settlement, it would also retain approximately 1,250 of those 3,300 employees “for a period of six months to undertake reclamation activities at the affected operations (Khuseleka 2 and Khomanani 1 & 2).”

During this period, these employees will be offered job opportunities that may become available as a result of ending the use of contractors “or vacancies created by natural attrition.”

After that, employees not placed in vacant positions will be exited with voluntary separation packages. In addition, a further 328 job opportunities, currently occupied by contractors, will be reserved for permanent employees on termination of existing contracts.

Amplats added that as a result of these retrenchment avoidance measures, no employees will be retrenched.

Read the full agreement here.

(Image from archives)