AngloGold gives striking South Africa miners ultimatum

JOHANNESBURG Mon Oct 22, 2012 6:29am EDT

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JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - AngloGold Ashanti Ltd told its striking South African miners to return to work or face dismissal, as the bullion producer looks to end a labor action that is choking off output.

South Africa's biggest gold producer said in a statement on Monday that its workers, who have been on a month-long wildcat strike, must return to work by noon (1000 GMT) on Wednesday or face dismissal.

Those who return on time will receive an improved wage offer, the company said.

AngloGold Ashanti said the strike is costing it 32,000 ounces a week in lost output.

"It is regretful that matters have reached this stage, with job losses now being threatened and livelihoods for thousands of families being placed at risk," Chief Executive Mark Cutifani said in the statement.

With the government calling on miners to return to work, companies have become emboldened to issue dismissal ultimatums to thousands of illegal strikers, a hard-ball negotiating tactic that appears to be having some effect.

(Reporting by David Dolan; Editing by Hans-Juergen Peters)

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