Amplats to hold S.Africa job cuts for 60 days

Strike-scarred platinum miner Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) will shelve plans to slash 14,000 jobs for two months to allow for further talks with unions and government, officials said on Monday.

The layoff procedures that had been set in motion on January 15 will be placed on hold for the talks following an outcry from unions and the government over the global miner's restructuring move.

"Amplats has agreed that it will suspend retrenchments for the next 60 days pending discussions," National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) spokesman Lesiba Seshoka told AFP.

Amplats spokeswoman Mpumi Sithole confirmed the delay to AFP "in order to allow for a detailed consultation process to take place."

The talks should however not run for more than two months starting January 30.

The mineral resources ministry confirmed the new deal.

Amplats announced on January 15 that it intended to restructure its strike-hit local operations, which could include the closure of four shafts, selling a mine considered unsustainable and letting go 14,000 workers.

The NUM said the upcoming talks would aim at fleshing out "solutions that could assist in alleviating and preventing these job losses."

South Africa is already suffering a 25.5 percent official jobless rate.

Operations of the world's number one platinum producer were crippled by rolling strikes over wages that have hit the country's mining sector since August.

The dispute halted mining at some Amplats mines for months, forcing a slump in fourth quarter production.