A world-leading mining firm has gone on a sacking spree in South Africa. Meanwhile, labor unrest is spreading outside the mining sector, causing serious strain to the country's economy.
The world's biggest platinum producer, Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), fired 12,000 of its employees in South Africa on Friday, after they allegedly staged an illegal three-week strike.
"Approximately 12,000 striking employees chose not to make representations, nor attend the hearings, and have therefore been dismissed in their absence," read a statement from Amplats.
The firm added that unrest had spread to other mines, due to disputes over pay. Amplats said the strikes had resulted in a 700 million-rand (81.2 million dollars) revenue loss for the company.
The tough measures come at a time when labor unrest is spreading in South Africa.
Oil giant Shell said on Friday that a two-week strike by truck drivers had hampered its fuel delivery operations, and police shot dead a striking miner overnight on Thursday, bringing the death toll in recent labor disputes to 48.
Overall, more than 75,000 miners - 15 percent of the sector's workforce - have participated in official strikes since employees at the Marikana mine, owned by the platinum firm Lonmin, staged a work stoppage in August.
Police shot dead 34 of the protesting workers at Lonmin in South Africa's bloodiest episode of violence since the end of Apartheid.
sej/tj (Reuters, dpa)
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