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Anglo American Platinum Strike Continues as Workers Reject Offer

Anglo American Platinum Ltd. workers rejected a one-time payment to end an unofficial eight-week strike in South Africa that has halted production of about a fifth of global platinum output.

Management proposed a payment of 4,500 rand ($517), comprising 2,000 rand for employees who didn’t strike or who have “financial difficulties,” and 2,500 rand to be paid two weeks after work resumes notwithstanding further incidents. The offer, which will cost the world’s largest platinum producer 220 million rand, was contingent on employees returning by Nov. 12, Johannesburg-based company known as Amplats said yesterday.

“The strike is carrying on,” Evans Ramokga, a worker representative, said by phone from Rustenburg, northwest of Johannesburg, where the strikers staged a peaceful rally today. “We want salary increases. How can the company talk about going back to work without workers’ demands being adhered to?”

Amplats, which fired 12,000 workers at its Rustenburg operations on Oct. 5, has said the demand of workers for a salary increase of 4,500 rand a month would cost about 2.6 billion rand and is unaffordable. Management reopened discussions with unions and representatives on Nov. 7 after previously offering a one-time payment of 2,000 rand if workers returned by Oct. 30 and promising to reinstate the 12,000.

Mpumi Sithole, a spokeswoman for Amplats, and Lesiba Seshoka, a spokesman for the National Union of Mineworkers, both said they were unaware of the workers’ decision and couldn’t comment.

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