S.Africa workers reject new offer from Amplats

Workers for Anglo American Platinum on Saturday rejected a new offer from the strike-hit mining giant and vowed to push on with a wildcat action that has crippled production since September.

Thousands of workers gathered for a rally in a stadium in Rustenburg in the northwest of South Africa as a police helicopter hovered above and officers kept watch.

"Nobody is going back to work, the strike is still carrying on," said Amplats Workers' Committee representative Evans Ramokga.

"The workers are not happy with the conditions so nobody is accepting the offer because there is not even an increase in that offer."

The rally came as police said that four Amplats workers were attacked after being accused of trying to report for work at a smelter on Friday.

The two men and two women were taken to an informal settlement and pelted with stones, rocks, fists and sticks by around 1,000 people, said spokesman Thulani Ngubane.

The four were hospitalised and one of the victims was in intensive care, he said.

Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) on Friday said it had put forward a once-off payment of 4,500 rand (517 dollars, 407 euros) and said it had reopened talks with unions in a bid to get its mines back to production.

The world's biggest platinum miner fired 12,000 workers in October after failing to reach a breakthrough at its Rustenburg mines whose output has been hit since September 12 over demands for wage increases.

Amplats also said it had agreed to an early re-opening of wage negotiations, though any pay hikes would only take effect from July 1 next year.

If the offer was accepted, it was understood that workers would return underground on Monday, it said.

The workers rejected a previous offer to be reinstated that included a one-off 2,000-rand payment.

Amplats is the last big mining company still hit by a wave of illegal strikes which led to more than 50 deaths, including 34 people shot dead by police at platinum miner Lonmin in August.

It has lost 167,681 ounces of production since the start of September, the firm said Friday.

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