Brief staff strike in South Africa hits Anglo stock

ANGLO American, the parent company of Anglo American Platinum, ended up at the bottom of the FTSE 100 yesterday as workers at three of Amplats’ mines temporarily downed tools.

Amplats said yesterday that a group of its employees at the Khomanani, Thembelani and Tumela mines – in the heart of South Africa’s platinum belt – refused to go underground for work yesterday.

The action follows an overhaul of Amplats South African operations, which could lead to the loss of 14,000 jobs.

However, Amplats labour leader Evans Ramokga said last night that the illegal walkout had now ended and that it was in talks to prevent further action. “The strike was only for last night,” Amplats labour leader Evans Ramokga told Reuters. He added workers would press management to find a way to head off job cuts, which were equal to about three per cent of South Africa’s overall workforce in the mining sector. Amplats officials were not immediately available to comment.

On Tuesday Amplats outlined its plans for its South African operations – to address profitability within the platinum business – which proposed selling off the Union mine complex and mothballing four mine shafts. Amplats chief executive Chris Griffith conceded earlier this week that industrial action was possible, although he stressed that all affected employees would go through a consultation process.

The mining community across South Africa’s platinum belt, on the outskirts of Johannesburg, was last summer the backdrop for a wave of violent wildcat strikes.

Anglo American closed down 3.06 per cent at 1,901p, making it the fourth-biggest faller on the blue chip index.