Saturday 24 February 2018

Miners warn of more violence after 12,000 workers sacked

South Africa's striking miners warned of more violence this weekend as platinum giant Amplats fired 12,000 workers.
South Africa's striking miners warned of more violence this weekend as platinum giant Amplats fired 12,000 workers.

Aislinn Laing Rustenburg, South Africa

SOUTH Africa's striking miners warned of more violence this weekend as platinum giant Amplats fired 12,000 workers just hours after troubles in the industry claimed another life.

Amplats, the world's largest platinum producer, said it had sacked more than half its miners for staging an unlawful strike and then failing to appear before disciplinary hearings.

The move came after a man died in clashes between police and workers on strike at the Amplats mine in Rustenburg. Miners said he was killed late on Thursday when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse strikers.

Strike leader Gaddafi Mdoda said he was one of about 12,000 miners who received emails or text messages telling them they had been dismissed.

Mr Mdoda said the miners would intensify their strike, even if they were no longer bona fide employees of Amplats.

At least 20,000 mineworkers at Amplats have been staging a wildcat strike since September 12. The mineworkers are demanding 12,500 rand (€1,091) in take-home salary.

Amplats is the world's largest platinum producer, while South Africa produces 75pc of the world's platinum.

As police brought in reinforcements, Amplats miners demanded to speak directly to Cynthia Carroll -- the chief executive of its parent company, Anglo American which is listed on the London Stock exchange.

Puppets

Maxwell Bebeza said: "Cynthia Carroll is the person we want to talk to now. We won't listen to what these local guys say -- they are just puppets."

Nancy Mphaka, a team supervisor, said the miners were planning further action. "There are going to be more Marikanas here," she said, referring to the Lonmin platinum mine where 46 people died in clashes with police, sparking the wave of violent labour disputes.

A police source said that they were preparing for a difficult weekend, expecting workers to target mine shafts and mine property. "Much as we'd like to, we can't stand back," he said.

Chris Griffith, chief executive of Amplats, said the company was working with the local authorities "to support the restoration of law and order".

Amplats said that its lost production thus far amounts to 39,000 ounces of the metal, representing some 700m rand (€61m) of lost revenue. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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