Anglo American Platinum Workers Return to Mines After Strike

Anglo American Platinum Ltd., the world’s biggest producer of the metal, said miners at two of its South African operations returned to work following a strike.

“The illegal action at Thembelani and Khuseleka 1 mines in Rustenburg has come to an end, and all employees are back at work,” Bongeka Lwana, a spokeswoman for the Johannesburg-based company known as Amplats, said in an e-mailed statement today. “The situation at all our operations is normal.”

About 5,600 workers at the mines downed tools, demanding that suspended officials from the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union were reinstated. The protest action came less than a week after the AMCU refused to sign a state-sponsored peace accord designed to avoid violent strikes after 34 people died at Lonmin Plc’s Marikana mine in a single day last year.

Amplats is planning to cut 6,000 jobs as part of an effort to return to profit by idling three shafts and reducing annual output by 350,000 ounces of metal. Talks with unions about the proposal are due to end on Aug. 10.

Aside from seeking a reversal of the ban on the union officials for joining a sit-in protest, the workers also want planned job cuts scrapped and a guarantee that a rival union be banished from Amplats mines, the company said yesterday. Production was disrupted at Thembelani on the night of July 7 and at both mines during the morning and afternoon shifts yesterday, it said.

Disciplinary Hearings

Unions and management met yesterday and agreed to lift the suspensions of organizers at mine shafts in South Africa, SAFM radio reported today, citing AMCU President Joseph Mathunjwa.

The company hasn’t removed the bans on the 19 shop stewards, it said in a separate e-mail. “Some of the disciplinary proceedings on these cases are scheduled for today,” it said.

Amplats climbed for a second day, adding 2.1 percent to 293 rand by 11:48 a.m. in Johannesburg.

Mathunjwa and Jimmy Gama, the AMCU’s treasurer, didn’t answer calls to their mobile phones.

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