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Amplats makes improved offer in S.Africa mining strike

Striking workers at Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) protest in Rustenburg, southwest South Africa, in September 2012. 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.

Anglo American Platinum said Friday it had put a new offer on the table to try to end the strikes that have paralysed its South African mining operations in Rustenburg and Northam.

The world's top platinum producer, known as Amplats, said it had on Wednesday reopened discussions with unions and that management had agreed a one-off payment of 4,500 rand ($515, 405 euros) for each qualifying employee.

Part of the payment would be a "loyalty or hardship allowance" and the rest would be paid two weeks after employees return to work.

"If the offer is accepted, the understanding is that employees would return to work on Monday... after which date the offer will lapse," Amplats said.

Some 12,000 workers launched a wildcat strike eight weeks ago to demand higher pay. They were fired following failed negotiations and had rejected a previous offer to be reinstated that included a one-time 2,000-rand payment.

Amplats said it had also agreed to an early re-opening of wage negotiations, though any pay hikes would only take effect from July 1 next year, in line with the company's wage negotiation cycle.

Amplats is the last big mining company still paralysed by a wave of unauthorised strikes that started in Marikana in August.

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

The strikes have led to almost 60 deaths including the fatal police shooting of 34 Lonmin miners in Marikana.