Amplats: Anger, disappointment over axing of 12 000

2012-10-05 14:40

Striking Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) mineworkers have reacted with disappointment, disbelief and anger to the decision of the mine to sack 12 000 mineworkers involved in a wildcat strike.

News of the mine’s decision this afternoon reached mineworkers who had gathered in the area where a mineworker was shot and killed last night.

Amplats spokesperson Mpumi Sithole said the decision to dismiss the miners was preceded by repeated calls for the miners to return to work.

“Despite the company’s repeated calls for employees to return to work, we have continued to experience attendance levels of less than 20%.

"Currently four of the company’s mining operations in the Rustenburg area have insufficient staff to operate and only essential services are being carried out at those mines,” said Sithole.

The company said workers at its Union and Amandelbult operations had presented memorandums of demands similar to those received in Rustenburg.

Workers are demanding a R16 070 salary including benefits.

Mineworkers said the decision to fire their colleagues would harden attitudes and make wage negotiations more difficult.

Sithole said the 12 000 fired workers had failed to appear before the disciplinary hearings instituted against them for embarking on illegal strike action.

“Approximately 12 000 striking employees chose not to make representations, nor attend the hearings, and have therefore been dismissed in their absence,” said Sithole.

The company had lost more than R700 million in revenue for 39 000 ounces of platinum since the strike began more than a month ago.

Amplats chief executive Chris Griffith said Anglo Platinum was still committed to participating in the platinum centralised engagement and wage negotiations.

The company would work with local authorities to restore law and order after violent action left some shafts on fire and a training centre was set alight last night.

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