Mining companies to rebuild businesses

Analysts warn restructuring will cause massive job cuts in the troubled strike-hit sector.

FILE: Mineworkers said Amcu won't allow massive job cuts to happen. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - The world's top three platinum companies on Wednesday said they will now work to rebuild their businesses following an over five-month long wage strike.

Analysts warned restructuring will cause massive job cuts, but mineworkers said their union won't allow it to happen.

Around 70,000 workers affiliated to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) have been on strike since January.

Lonmin already confirmed it would embark on restructuring.

It's widely speculated that Impala Platinum (Implats) and Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) will follow suit.

But Amcu President Joseph Mathunjwa has caused some confusion when he said platinum giants agreed to refrain from restructuring for the sake of stability.

Minority unions at the platinum mines said they're bracing themselves for job cuts.

"The commitment from the three platinum producers was that they would not embark on a restructuring process because they need to stabilise the mines," Mathunjwa said.

A miner said he believes his job is safe but is worried about retrenchment rumours.

"The employees and employers will sit down and talk about retrenchments in the next three years."

There's been no official announcement on how many workers could lose their jobs, although Solidarity estimates that around 10,000 people will be laid off.


Residents in North West communities around platinum mines say they can finally go to their workplaces and travel at night without fear of being attacked.

Cases of intimidation and violent attacks escalated during the strike with four people being killed.

Thousands of miners returned to their posts at Lonmin, Impala and Amplats shafts this morning for medical check-ups, and refresher courses on health and safety.

Community members near the Khomanani shaft said they're hopeful that Amcu's settlement will restore peace in their informal settlement.

Another mineworker says residents have nothing to fear.

"We are very relieved as there is no more danger."

He also dismissed claims that workers were divided, saying members of opposing unions can still work on the same team.

"We have a good relationship and we'll continue working together as a team."

Police have not made any arrests linked to the four deaths that happened during the industrial action.

Video: Amcu strike officially over.