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National Union of Mineworkers Says Mine Office Closed by Amplats

Anglo American Platinum Ltd. closed an office of the National Union of Mineworkers and is treating the labor group unfairly, the union said.

The Anglo American Plc unit, known as Amplats, shut the office at the Union mine, a site the company plans to sell as part of a review of operations that will cut as many as 14,000 jobs, according to an e-mailed statement today from the union known as NUM.

“The aim is to weaken trade unions affiliated to the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the ruling party,” Lesiba Seshoka, a NUM spokesman, said in the statement.

The National Union of Mineworkers, an ally of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress, is losing support to rivals, including the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, or AMCU. Yesterday the Congress of South African Trade Unions, of which the NUM is an affiliate, said Amplats, Lonmin Plc and Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. are working to weaken the position of the NUM.

The Chamber of Mines, which represents the companies, denied the assertions by the labor federation. Amplats spokeswoman Mpumi Sithole didn’t answer calls made to her office and mobile phone and didn’t immediately respond to a text message.

Clashes between supporters of the two groups erupted on Feb. 18 at Amplats’ Siphumele mine, with security officers firing rubber bullets as protesters used machetes to hack at each other, injuring at least 12 people. Fighting between the NUM and AMCU members last year at a Lonmin Plc mine led to the death of at least 10 people before 34 protesters were shot dead by police on Aug. 16.

AMCU signed an accord aimed at maintaining peace and stability in South Africa’s mining industry on Feb. 25, several days after it was signed by others unions including NUM.

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