Impala Platinum, the world’s number two producer, has agreed to take back 17,200 workers in South Africa who were fired for going on strike, their union said Sunday.
“They have offered to re-hire all the workers that were dismissed. We’re hoping that they should be able to go back on Tuesday,” National Union of Mineworkers spokesman Lesiba Seshoka told AFP.
Parent company Implats’ Impala Rustenburg mine had been losing an estimated 3,000 ounces of platinum a day because of the labour dispute, sparked by an 18-percent salary increase that excluded some 5,000 rock drill operators.
The company had announced on February 2 that it was firing 13,000 miners who it said were striking illegally, bringing to 17,200 the number of workers sacked this year — more than half the 30,000 people employed in the northwestern town.
Seshoka said the wage dispute had not yet been resolved but that negotiations could resume now that the workers had been re-hired.
Impala produced 941,200 ounces of platinum in the financial year ended June 2011. It is Implats’ biggest platinum operation.
The company as a whole produced 1.84 million ounces last year.