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Amplats says workers report for duty after one-day strike

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Anglo American Platinum , the world's biggest platinum producer, said on Tuesday 5,600 workers had returned to work after a one-day wildcat strike at two of its operations in South Africa.

Workers downed tools on Sunday in solidarity with 19 Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) shop stewards suspended last week for orchestrating an illegal protest that prevented other workers from returning to the surface from their underground shift.

"All employees are back at work," Amplats spokeswoman Bongeka Lwana said.

Production was halted at Thembelani and Khuseleka 1 mines on Monday, sparking fears of illegal strikes spreading across the platinum producer's operations.

South Africa's platinum belt has been rocked by a violent turf war between AMCU and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) which killed more than 50 people last year and triggered credit downgrades for Africa's largest economy.

AMCU president Joseph Mathunjwa said he had brokered a deal for the workers to end the strike by asking the company to reinstate the suspended shop stewards.

"Companies are quick to dismiss workers without thinking about the consequences," Mathunjwa told Reuters. "We are talking about the lives of people."

Amplats has yet to confirm whether the union leaders will be allowed to return to work.

(Reporting by Sherilee Lakmidas; Editing by Ed Cropley)