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Anglo American fires 643 workers for staging illegal strike

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South Africa’s platinum giant Anglo American Platinum said Monday it had sacked more than 600 workers at its mine in northern Limpopo province for staging an illegal strike over health insurance.

Why did Anglo American fire its workers?

The company said the 643 workers had embarked on the strike over changes in a health insurance scheme it introduced when it acquired the Mototolo Mine from Glencore last year.

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“The total number of people who have been dismissed is 643, that is about half of the underground workers,”  company spokeswoman Jana Marais told AFP

But the General Industries Workers Unions of SA (Giwusa) claimed the figure was actually 947.

Workers demand better health benefits

The world’s top platinum producer said the benefits under its new scheme were similar to those offered by the former mine owner.

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“If the medical scheme had been similar, there would have been no need to go on strike,” Teddy Thobakgale, Giwusa regional organiser told AFP.

Was the strike legal?

The company had secured a court order to ban the strike which started on May 12. Its appeals to end the strike had been “ignored”, it said.

The workers have until Tuesday to appeal the dismissals.

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“We are urging employees to get their appeals in as soon as possible, but the final cut-off is tomorrow (Tuesday),” spokesman Marais said.

Thobakgale said they had already lodged appeals against the dismissals.

(Source: The South African)

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