Amplats pursues damages against Amcu

2014-04-04 08:18

Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) will continue to pursue the legal process of claiming damages from the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), chairperson Valli Moosa has said.

He was speaking at the company’s annual general meeting yesterday.

Moosa said the strike action led by Amcu had been carried out in compliance with terms of the country’s labour law, although the company was concerned at incidents of intimidation.

“This has been in part, we believe, due to the company’s vigorous defence of the need to observe the rule of the law and various agreements, including picketing rules.

“We will continue to pursue the current legal process in respect of claiming damages from Amcu for much the same reason.”

Amplats is demanding nearly R600 million in damages from the union, arguing that Amcu disregarded a Labour Court order that it make marshals available to monitor the union’s striking members.

The case was filed with the High Court in Pretoria in February.

Amcu members downed tools at Impala, Lonmin and Amplats mines in Rustenburg and Northam in Limpopo, demanding a minimum monthly salary of R12 500.

Moosa said the company was better positioned to ensure competitiveness, profitability and sustainability.

“Our efforts to better position the company for the future have however been challenged by the wage strike now in its 10th week. The strike has been called unprecedented in many quarters, and with this I must agree.”

He said the strike would have significant consequences for the company, its employees, suppliers and business partners, as well as local and labour-sending communities.

“Though the impact of the strike is significant, the impact of capitulating to unaffordable wage demands would have had an even more significant and permanent adverse impact. It is telling, and most unfortunate, that the operations affected by the strike are those whose viability is most tenuous.”

He said several hundred thousand people around the country were directly affected by the strike, and the longer it endured, the less likely companies, communities, families, and individuals would be to recover from its consequences.

“We need to reach a negotiated settlement soon.”

In 2013, the company saw a return to profitability, with headline earnings increasing R2.9 billion from 2012.

“This was despite the number of one-off restructuring costs that impacted the results. A number of headwinds impacted production, including the intermittent strikes, safety stoppages and the industrial action mentioned earlier,” Moosa said.

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