Amplats Strike Halts South African Mines for a Second Day

Anglo American Platinum Ltd. (AMS) mines were halted for a second day as workers protested 3,300 planned jobs cuts at the company’s South African operations.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, the biggest at Anglo Platinum, and the company failed to reach an agreement over the weekend, AMCU President Joseph Mathunjwa said today by telephone.

“We remain open to resolve this dispute with the company as soon as possible,” Mathunjwa said. “It’s up to them to decide if they want to talk.”

AMCU members downed tools on Sept. 27 after challenging last month’s decision by the company to consolidate five mines into three at its Rustenburg complex to curb costs. The mines are losing more than 1 billion rand ($99 million) every six months, Chief Executive Officer Chris Griffith said Aug. 30. Anglo Platinum produces as much as 40 percent of world supply.

Mpumi Sithole, a spokeswoman for the company known as Amplats, was unable to comment when contacted by phone today.

Amplats fell 0.9 percent to 435.90 rand in Johannesburg trading as of 9:12 a.m. local time.

The first day of the strike saw less than 20 percent of employees report for duty at the company’s mines near Rustenburg and north of the Pilanesberg in the North West province, Amplats said in a Sept. 27 statement.

“The company is under tremendous economic pressure,” Griffith said at the time. “Strikes and work stoppages will result in further losses that will hamper plans for future sustainability.”

The AMCU is planning to march on the company’s Johannesburg head office today, Mathunjwa said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andre Janse van Vuuren in Johannesburg at ajansevanvuu@bloomberg.net

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