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Impala to Release Union Membership Numbers Next Week

Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd., the South African producer whose main Rustenburg mine was halted by a battle for control between labor unions, expects to say next week how many members each of the unions now has.

The numbers will show that neither union recruited more than 50 percent plus one of the mine’s workforce, Johan Theron, the people’s executive at Johanhnesburg-based Impala, said by phone today. Not all workers belong to unions.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, or AMCU, said June 6 it recruited about half the 30,000 workforce and were winning members daily. The National Union of Mineworkers, or NUM, is historically the dominant union at Rustenburg. It’s been the only union management is allowed to negotiate with on wages and other labor matters.

AMCU said last week Impala should have verified the union membership numbers by May 25 and awarded the union organizational rights. It asked the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration to rule on the matter.

The hearing will be held June 21, Theron said. Releasing the union membership numbers before the hearing may settle the dispute prior to the hearing, he said.

“I think sanity will prevail,” he said. “I hope the unions will be able to sit around a table,” Theron said today. Impala said May 29 labor matters could be discussed in a multi-union committee.

A six-week strike from the middle of January cost Impala more than 120,000 ounces of platinum production and had a “severe impact” on costs, the company said May 29. Impala accounts for about a quarter of global platinum supply.

Impala gained 3.9 percent to 141.69 rand at the 5 p.m. close in Johannesburg.

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