Mixed reaction to Amplats layoffs

2012-10-06 07:22

Anglo American Platinum’s decision to fire 12 000 striking workers was met with mixed reactions.
The Freedom Front Plus supported the move.

“Hopefully, the firing of these workers, dangerous as it is, is the first step to normalisation of the South African community after two months of chaos and illegal actions,” FFPlus leader Pieter Mulder said in a statement.

He said South Africa had established stipulations as to how labour problems should be legally resolved.

“For the past two months this dispensation has calculatingly been challenged by the strikers,” said Mulder.

According to him, strong leadership was needed to prevent illegal strikes spreading to other sectors.

The ANC’s leaders and strikers needed to weigh up the implications of mines closing and economic losses with political agendas ahead of the ANC’s national conference in Mangaung.

“What is in the best interest of South Africa should always be given preference above specific party political interests,” he said.

The ANC Youth League condemned the mine’s decision to resort to dismissals.

“The ANCYL is deeply disturbed and angered by the irrational and illogical firing of 12 000 workers by Amplats,” spokesperson Khusela Sangoni-Khawe said in a statement.

“This action demonstrates the insensibility and insensitivity of the company, which has made astronomical profits on the blood, sweat and tears of the very same workers that today the company can just fire with impunity.”

Yesterday afternoon, Amplats announced the dismissals to shareholders, on completion of the disciplinary hearings for striking workers.

Affected employees would be informed of the outcome yesterday, and would have three working days to lodge appeals.

“Despite the company’s repeated calls for employees to return to work, we have continued to experience attendance levels of less than 20%,” the company said in a statement distributed via the Stock Exchange News Service.

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

Work stopped three weeks ago in the Rustenburg area, and the company had so far not been able to resolve the illegal strike.

Four mines in the Rustenburg area did not have enough staff to operate, although the Rustenburg concentrators, smelters, refineries and the Bathopele Mine continued to operate normally, Amplats said.

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