Wildcat strike over proposed Amplats layoffs ends
WORKERS at Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) decided to report for duty last night after a 24-hour wildcat strike over its proposal to retrench 14,000 employees.
Amplats, which is due to report a heavy financial loss, was on Tuesday criticised by the government, the African National Congress and unions for plans to mothball shafts, suspend plants and sell a mine.
In a clear indication of a complete breakdown in relations between the company and the government, Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu on Wednesday labelled its CEO Chris Griffith as "arrogant" on SAfm.
"Listen to this, the arrogance of Chris. He said in his statement he’s going to talk to labour. And he’s not going to talk to government? It’s themselves who are putting their licence in jeopardy — not us."
An Amplats spokesman would not be drawn on specifics but said on Wednesday: "This is a consultative process and we will of course be in direct dialogue with the unions and government as we move forward."
Amplats’ Khuseleka Mine 1 and 2 and Khomanani Mine 1 and 2 were affected by the wildcat strike involving more than 14,000 workers.
Strike committee leader Godfrey Lindani said mass meetings were held on Wednesday at which workers decided to return to work.
He said the workers would follow the required procedures to embark on a legal strike. "It is not that we are afraid, it is just that we want to go on a legal strike," he said.
Another worker committee leader, Gaddafi Mdoda, said miners were expecting to meet the Amplats board on Thursday or Friday to discuss the retrenchments.
National Union of Mineworkers regional co-ordinator Mxhasi Sithethi said on Wednesday: "We expect total closure of the (Amplats) operations."
Trade union Uasa’s divisional manager for the mining sector, Franz Stehring, confirmed the strike had ended. He was cautiously optimistic that a solution would be found for the "unacceptable" job cuts as the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration would assist in "restoring order".
The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union planned to hold a media briefing on Thursday.
More in this section
- NUM ‘under siege’, says Shabangu in show of solidarity
- Cosatu ‘sowing seeds of own destruction’, says NUM’s Baleni
- Fedusa says garnishee orders ‘eat into workers’ incomes’
- Mkhize says NUM attack meant to weaken ANC
- Union membership tussle costing jobs, Zuma warns
- NUM counts losses as Amcu gains ground fast