Amplats workers refuse to go underground

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Johannesburg - Workers at top global platinum miner Anglo American Platinum on Tuesday night refused to go underground after their employer warned it would axe 14 000 jobs in a major restructuring of its operations.

“We decided to stop the operations starting from tonight,” said one workers' representative who led mass strikes last year, Gaddhafi Mdoda, adding that strikers would try to meet the company's management on Wednesday.

“There will be no night shift, no morning shift until we reach a common understanding,” Mdoda said.

Months after being swept up in a deadly mining strike, Amplats said early on Tuesday it planned to close four shafts and sell a mine considered unsustainable.

“As a result of the proposed changes to the business, a total of up to 14 000 jobs may be affected,” the firm said.

The vast majority of job cuts, 13 000 in all, would be lost around Rustenburg, a city 110km north-west of Johannesburg that was the crucible of violent labour unrest last August and September. - Sapa-AFP

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