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Amplats strikers get dismissal warning

Amplats have warned that striking miners could face dismissal if they do not return to work.

Striking Anglo American Platinum workers demonstrate at the company's Blesbok stadium, demanding a R12,500 salary. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) mine in Rustenburg has warned that if its miners do not return to work on Thursday, they will face dismissal.

The threat comes as illegal strikes across the South African mining sector intensifies.

Amplats workers embarked on a strike more than two weeks ago and are demanding a R12,500 monthly salary.

A wave of wildcat action is spreading following a five-week stoppage at Lonmin's Marikana mine over a wage dispute.

Production has been halted at all six AngloGold Ashanti mines, while strike action continues at Amplats in the North West.

Their action was sparked by violent protests at Lonmin's mines, which saw workers down tools for nearly six weeks before parties agreed on wage increases between 11 and 22 percent.

Workers from the North West platinum mine abandoned their unions and represented themselves in the matter.

Workers from surrounding mines have followed suit.

Mining analyst Peter Major on Wednesday said government needs to take stronger action.

"The unions can't stop strike action, it's the government. Government allows these guys to run rampant, there's no rule of law."

A third of Amplats' workforce have refused to return to its posts, but the company has now said it will take disciplinary action - which could lead to dismissals.

SA MINING INDUSTRY IS ARCHAIC

Renowned academic Mamphela Ramphele said on Wednesday South Africa's mining industry is archaic.

Ramphele is one of the keynote speakers at the Central and East European Management Conference.

It's a three-day event hosted by the University of Stellenbosch Business School.

Ramphele likened South Africa's mining sector to an industry stuck in the 18th and 19th centuries.

"We just have not applied our minds, there isn't the political leadership and will to create a framework for a mining industry in the 21st century."

Ramphele is also the chairperson at Goldfields, but said South Africa's mines are lagging behind its overseas competitors.

"It's not as if we lack in ability to develop innovations to be able to make transitions from one era to another."