Amplats makes new offer to get workers back

2012-11-14 14:12
Anglo American Platinum has made a new offer to workers in an attempt to get operations running again, the National Union of Mineworkers has said.

“The strike committee is going to go back to people and give them feedback in terms of the latest offer,” said Mxhasi Sithethi, NUM regional coordinator for Rustenburg.

Negotiators would return to the company tomorrow with workers’ response.

The company has been offering workers incentives to return to work at its Rustenburg, Amandelbult and Union mines, where operations were at a standstill, losing production of around 3 613 ounces of platinum per day.

The last was R4 500, made up of a R2 000 loyalty or hardship allowance and a R2 000 safe start-up allowance.

The company also said it would open next year’s salary negotiations early.

It has already fired 12 000 striking workers from its Rustenburg operations, but has said it is prepared to take them back.

However, the strike has lasted for eight weeks with workers ignoring deadlines and ultimatums to go back.

Sithethi said: “We have engaged with management. There is no deadline any more.”

Now time would be spent on discussing and reviewing the offer made. However, people were still not back at work, he said.

Mmametlwe Sebei, a member of the miners’ national strike committee, said management had offered workers an additional amount on top of the return-to-work incentives.

Sebei said the company’s increase was “a very important step forward”.

“This is an actual increase, this is not just a go-back-to-work offer. It is constructive.”

He was speaking while travelling to Limpopo where he said that over 40 people associated with Bokoni Platinum had been arrested yesterday.

Amplats hold a 49% interest in Bokoni Platinum, 80km south east of Polokwane.

Police were not immediately available for further information, but Sebei said 45 people were arrested at various places, including their homes and outdoors during gatherings yesterday to discuss the labour situation.

He believed this was a “calculated strategy to demoralise striking miners”.

He said among those arrested was committee chairman Elias Juba.

Comment from the company was not immediately available.

This week police said they found the body of a Mozambican miner near a hostel at the company’s Thembelani operations.

They also arrested 22 people on Monday in a protest at that mine.