The world’s largest platinum producer, Anglo American PLC (OTCMKTS: AAUKY), said production at its South African mines has been affected as miners went on strike following the company’s announcement that it plans to fire 3,300 workers, the Financial Times reported Friday.
The company, also known as Amplats, said that less than 20 percent of its employees reported for work on Friday. The cutbacks are part of Amplats' restructuring as the South African company struggles with labor and electricity costs.
“We have previously stated that the company is under tremendous economic pressure,” Chris Griffith, Amplats chief executive, said. “Strikes and work stoppages will result in further losses that will hamper plans for future sustainability and further threaten the future of our 45,000 employees.”
Government unions and the ruling African National Congress party have expressed anger over the company's cutbacks. Amplats has already reduced the number of workers it would lay off by 14,000 jobs.
“We have tried to work with the company hand-in-hand,” Evans Ramokga, a representative of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, said. “But we have not been able to find each other. We have a lot of avoidance measures to work with to prevent these losses, but it’s tough.”
South Africa holds about 80 percent of the world’s proven platinum reserves. Amplats accounts for about 40 percent of global platinum production, and while production will be impacted by the strike, sales will not be affected, the company said.