Johannesburg - Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) would do better to see out the strike at its South African mines rather than give in to workers’ demands over job cuts, Coronation Asset Management said yesterday.
“It is better in the long-term interest of the business to take a strike to establish a realistic wage base and to put the company in a profitable position,” Coronation analyst Neill Young said from Cape Town.
Company spokeswoman Mpumi Sithole said less than 20 percent of workers had reported for duty at Amplats’s mines in North West yesterday.
Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) president Joseph Mathunjwa said mines run by Amplats stood idle for a sixth day as the union protested against proposals to cut 4 800 jobs. The union would meet Amplats again today for talks, he said.
The union, the biggest at Amplats, is challenging a decision by the largest producer of the precious metal to consolidate five mines into three at its Rustenburg complex.
The sites were losing more than R1 billion every six months, chief executive Chris Griffith said on Monday.
Plans to cut as many as 14 000 jobs, announced in January, were scaled back following pressure from unions and the government. Amplats had no choice other than to implement the job cuts, said Des Kilalea, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets in London.
“This is a business that in its current structure doesn’t work,” he said. “They’re going to lose money either way.”
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), which was unseated by Amcu as Amplats’s biggest recognised union in March, has also sought to halt the job cuts.
The Johannesburg Labour Court had reserved judgment on Tuesday in a case brought by NUM to stop the job reductions, union spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said.
An Amcu worker had been shot in the eye and two others arrested at Amplats’s Tumela mine at Thabazimbi in Limpopo, Sapa reported yesterday, citing a local leader of the union, Evans Ramokga. Four people had been arrested in the area for public violence, Sapa cited police spokeswoman Ronel Otto as saying.
Amplats reported a loss of R1.47bn for 2012 and kept its dividend suspended.
Anglo American, which owns a 77 percent stake, would close or sell more of the platinum company’s mines if profit did not improve next year, chief executive Mark Cutifani said on Sunday.
Amplats fell 3.08 percent to R407.50 yesterday. The platinum index lost 2.26 percent. – Bloomberg