Amplats workers return as violence ebbs

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AngloPlatStrike Reuters.

Johannesburg - More workers are reporting for duty at the stoppage-hit operations of Anglo American Platinum in South Africa as incidents of violence against non-striking employees are starting to subside, minority unions said.

More than 90 percent of members belonging to smaller trade union UASA are at work, Franz Stehring, its head of mining, said by phone today.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, the main labour representative at the world’s largest platinum producer, called a strike on January 23 that has halted most of the Anglo American unit’s operations.

Less then half of UASA’s members went to work immediately after the strike was called, Stehring said.

“The intimidation is definitely is a lot less,” Stehring said.

The union represents about 12 percent of workers at the strike-hit mines of Amplats, as the Johannesburg-based company is known, Stehring said.

An Amcu official was killed in clashes with police in February and two others were arrested for the attempted murder of a worker in April after more than 70,000 members of the union went on strike at mines owned by Amplats, Impala Platinum and Lonmin.

The world’s three biggest producers have lost 17 billion rand in revenue because of the strike, now in its 16th week, while employees have forfeited 7.6 billion rand in wages, according to a website run by the companies.

The union has rejected the producers’ latest offer of 12,500 rand a month by 2017 including benefits, instead demanding that amount in base pay, which excludes allowances, within four years.

Members of the the National Union of Mineworkers have not been attacked since their houses were hit with petrol bombs last month, Livuwhani Mammburu, a spokesman for the union, said by phone.

The employee attendance rate at the start of the strike was about 10 percent, Amplats said in a statement on January 24.

The company’s spokeswoman, Mpumi Sithole, couldn’t be immediately reached for comment when contacted by phone. - Bloomberg News



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