Amplats to cut 4 800 jobs

Anglo American Platinum said on Friday that 3 300 cuts coming from lay-offs and the remainder from voluntary packages.

Amplats, which fell into a loss last year, initially wanted to cut 14 000 jobs in a bid to return to profit but fierce government and union resistance caused it to rein in its plans.

Job cuts are a sensitive issue in South Africa, where the unemployment rate is over 25% and after dozens of people were killed in violent labour unrest in the platinum industry.

Amplats, a unit of global mining house Anglo American, has laid out plans to cut around 7 000 jobs. In addition to the 4 800, the company said another 1 600 employees would be redeployed into vacancies.

It also said "approximately 500 other opportunities" would be found, but did not give further details.

"The success of these measures has further reduced the number of employees that will ultimately be retrenched to approximately 3 300 and the one month notice period for all affected employees will commence on 2 September 2013," it said in a statement.

'Your job is finished'
Meanwhile, around 2 000 mineworkers converged at an Amplats mine last week over plans to cut 6 900 jobs amid unrest in the sector.

Miners gathered on August 20 at the Khomanani shaft in the northern city of Rustenburg to protest the Amplats plan, announced just days after South Africa marked the first anniversary of police shooting dead 34 miners at the nearby Lonmin mine in Marikana, which sparked strikes that have roiled the sector.

"People don't want to transfer. But if you don't want to transfer, your job is finished," said Themba, a 45-year-old worker who did not give his surname.

"I've got a family. I feel very bad. People here, they've got families too," he said, unsure of his future after 23 years' service at the mine.

Workers chanted at a stadium next to the Khomanani shaft, one of those due to be closed down. – Reuters

Reuters
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