June 4, 2013 / 3:26 PM / in 5 years

UPDATE 1-Implats South Africa mine hit by illegal strike

JOHANNESBURG, June 4 (Reuters) - Workers downed tools in an illegal strike on Tuesday at one of Impala Platinum’s South African mines, a spokesman for the company said, the latest wildcat action to hit the country.

“One person was dismissed because of disciplinary action and his colleagues at the shaft went on strike in sympathy. The shaft didn’t work today,” said Bob Gilmour, a spokesman for the world’s second-largest platinum producer.

He said the walkout was at the No.14 shaft near the restive platinum hub of Rustenburg, where tensions have been simmering amid a vicious turf war between rival unions.

A shop steward from South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) was shot dead on Monday at a Lonmin mine .

More than 50 people died last year in wildcat strikes and violence related to fighting between NUM and the rival Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), which has poached tens of thousands of disgruntled NUM workers.

AMCU now represents the majority of workers at Implats.

The rand weakened slightly on the news. It was knocked to its lowest in four years last week on concerns about the labour strife.

Workers are also opposing a plan by Anglo American Platinum to cut 6,000 jobs, while tough wage talks loom in the platinum, gold and coal sectors.

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