Amplats waiting for fired miners to return

2012-11-02 10:59

About 12 000 fired Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) workers had not taken up the company’s reinstatement offer, the National Union of Mineworkers said.

“They are unable to take it up because of the levels of intimidation in Rustenburg,” NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said today.

The platinum producer had hoped an incentive-laced offer would get workers back who had been on an unprotected strike and then fired from its Union and Amandelbult mines, and would end the labour unrest in the area.

Instead, workers spent Tuesday, the deadline to accept the reinstatement offer, in clashes with mine security and police.

Amplats said yesterday the offer was still open.

The North West town was pushed into the spotlight in August when 34 people, mostly Lonmin Platinum miners, were shot dead in a confrontation with police at Marikana.

Before and after that, union shop stewards, security guards, and policemen were killed in labour unrest.

A common call among striking workers was that their pay be increased to R12 500, as support for established unions appeared to fragment.

The Amplats offer was made in consultation with NUM, Uasa, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA, Solidarity, and a strikers’ committee.

Amplats said it was losing on average 3 694 ounces of platinum production a day. To date 141 640 ounces of production had been lost, it said.

Police spokesman Warrant Officer Sam Tselanyane said he had not been informed of any disturbances in the area overnight or early this morning.

The miners usually gather in small groups in the area every day, he said, and since Wednesday had not been unruly.

“They are quiet,” he said.

Separate discussions have been taking place at the Chamber of Mines with a view to setting up a commodity-specific bargaining council for the platinum industry.

The idea is to create a forum where all companies will make the same pay offers to remove complaints that workers in the same unions at different companies receive better pay offers.

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