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NUM threatens strike action

The threat comes after Amplats announced it planned to cut 7,000 jobs.

FILE: Striking Anglo Platinum workers demonstrate at the company's Blesbok stadium. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has threatened mass strike action after Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) announced it planned to cut more jobs than it had initially agreed to.

After months of discussions with government and unions, Amplats announced earlier this week that it aims to cut about 7,000 jobs at its South African operations, up from 6,000.

The NUM's Lesiba Seshoka said if an agreement is not reached, workers will embark on a strike.

"The national office bearers of the union will look into this and we will announce the way forward. Clearly we will have to take this matter to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), to the court and then go on strike if need be."

Amplats said the ultimate number of retrenchments will however depend on voluntary severance packages, early retirement and redeployments.

However, the NUM said they agreed that only 3,000 jobs would be affected through voluntary severance packages.

"We'll look into the issue because they didn't raise it with us that 7,000 jobs will be cut. We'll also look at the statements being issued about workers being forced out because the agreement doesn't have that option."

Meanwhile, mining analyst Peter Major said Amplat's announcement of restructuring its business is great news for the mining sector.

The review is aimed at restoring the company's profitability to ensure its long-term sustainability and increase its competitiveness.

Major says the restructuring shows the sector is viable and there is some concern for shareholders.

"Right now it looks like the mining sector is nationalised and is just run for the benefit of the masses and the guy who puts in money takes the real risk and hasn't been included in the last couple of years."

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