Biggest Union at Impala Threatens Strike If Job-Cut Talks Fail

(Bloomberg) -- The biggest union at Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. has threatened that its members will strike if talks about saving 13,000 jobs at the world’s second-biggest producer of the metal fail.

Talks with the company over the planned job cuts have yet to start, Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union President Joseph Mathunjwa told reporters in Johannesburg Tuesday.

Impala is embarking on a restructuring plan that will reduce the labor force at the Rustenburg mine in South Africa to 27,000 employees and contractors and shrink the number of operating shafts to six. It’s focusing on newer, lower-cost shafts as platinum prices hover close to a decade low and has spent months on a review of the sprawling complex where only three of the shafts were making money as of March.

The company, which has already cut 2,500 jobs in the year through June, is focusing on low-cost mines and boosting palladium output to take advantage of the metal’s deficit, Chief Executive Officer Nico Muller said Aug. 2. Its future will be built on operations such as its Two Rivers and Zimbabwe platinum mines, he said.

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