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Amplats Strike Halts South African Mines for a Second Day

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

The company and Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, the biggest at the producer, failed to agree over the weekend, AMCU President Joseph Mathunjwa said today by phone.

“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.”

The AMCU downed tools Sept. 27 after challenging a decision by the company last month 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. Amplats, as the company’s known, produces as much as 40 percent of world supply.

Amplats was holding talks with the union today, company spokeswoman Mpumi Sithole said by text message. The producer closed 0.9 percent lower at 436.19 rand in Johannesburg.

The first day of the strike saw less than a fifth of staff working at 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.” Sithole wasn’t able to comment on the effect of the strike today when contacted by telephone.

The Johannesburg Labour Court will tomorrow hear a case brought by the National Union of Mineworkers in a separate bid to halt planned cuts, it said yesterday . The NUM was unseated by the AMCU as Amplats’s biggest recognized union in March.

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