Amplats Job Cuts May Be as Few as 1,100, UASA’s Stehring Says

Anglo American Platinum Ltd., the world’s biggest producer of platinum, may reduce South African job cuts in its restructuring proposal to less than 6,000 and as few as 1,100, labor union UASA said.

“If everything goes according to what’s assumed it’s going to be less than 6,000 jobs cut,” Franz Stehring, head of mining for UASA, said by phone today. About 1,000 administrative jobs and 200 operational positions are likely to be lost, he said.

The Anglo American Plc unit known as Amplats in January proposed cutting as many as 14,000 positions in a bid to return to profit. It revised the figure to 6,000 on May 10 after the government threatened to revoke its license. Amplats and labor unions agreed on May 21 to “measures and mitigation plans that will preserve jobs,” the Department of Mineral Resources said. Producers in South Africa are struggling with higher costs as strikes led to above-inflation wage gains, while demand wanes.

Early retirement will account for about 400 positions, while rebalancing of jobs within Amplats and joint ventures will comprise another 1,600, he said. About 2,000 people would leave the company through natural attrition while voluntary separations would be 1,000, according to Stehring. Amplats will need 800 workers to oversee shafts placed on care and maintenance, he said.

Amplats in January agreed to postpone discussions on potential job cuts as governed by section 189 of the country’s Labor Relations Act. Through this, discussions are held with unions and a facilitator appointed by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.

CCMA talks resumed on May 24 and “will be informed by” the agreement reached on May 21, the company said.

Mpumi Sithole, a spokeswoman for Amplats, declined to comment on the number of positions that could be cut.

Amplats shares declined 0.5 percent to 295 rand by 4:05 p.m. in Johannesburg, extending the drop this year to 34 percent.

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