Striking S.Africa Amplats miners return to work
The world's biggest platinum miner Anglo American Platinum said workers had returned to its South Africa mines on Thursday, ending a two-month strike that crippled production.
“Employees in Rustenburg and the north of Pilanesburg operations have turned up for work,” a company spokeswoman Mpumi Sithole said.
Production was not expected to start until next week after safety procedures were conducted, but the news was a major breakthrough for Amplats and the strike-ravaged sector.
A workers’ representative had said most of the thousands of workers had accepted the offer which involved a 600 rand ($67, 53 euro) monthly allowance on top of regular salary and a 4,500 rand ($504, 395 euro) one-off payment to each worker.
“Workers at most shafts reported for duty, but it does not mean they are happy with the offer,” said Siphamandla Makhanya, one of the strike leaders.
He said some workers from one shaft southwest of Johannesburg stayed away because they were unhappy that their colleagues who were arrested had not been released.
Dozens of workers were arrested during violent clashes with police, which saw public property destroyed by angry demonstrators.
Makhanya did not rule out the possibility of another strike early next year.
The work stoppage coupled with decreased sales volumes, lower metal prices and higher mining inflation, will cause a 20 percent dip in Amplats earnings this year.
A week ago, the company had put its losses at more than 167,681 ounces of production since the start of September.
Amplats was the last major mining company still grappling with an industrial action after wave of illegal South African strikes led to more than 50 deaths, including 34 people shot dead by police at platinum miner Lonmin in August.