The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), along with other trade unions in the gold mining sector, have met with precious metals miner Sibanye-Stillwater and the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) over a wage dispute at its gold operations.
Sibanye is the only company that has been unable to reach agreement with trade unions on the wage increases for the coming three years.
In terms of the CCMA process, Sibanye on October 20 told Mining Weekly that the process was "nothing out of the ordinary".
It referred to past instances where wage negotiations, both at a centralised collective bargaining level and at a company-level across the various commodities, included a CCMA process.
"This process allows the parties a further opportunity to find each other and, in most cases, leads to a positive outcome," the miner said, adding that it would continue to engage with unions in this process with a view to reaching a constructive outcome.
Meanwhile, AMCU on October 19 said the wage negotiations with Sibanye was “similar” to the previous round of wage negotiations in 2018, which eventually led to a five-month protracted strike which spilled over into 2019.
At the time, all other companies had also reached amicable settlements with trade unions, but Sibanye had not.
Sibanye’s latest offer for surface and underground workers was R400 for the first year, and 3.4% for artisans, miners and officials, the union said. However, Sibanye indicated that this information released by Amcu "was incorrect" and that there have been a number of movements made since the offer mentioned in Amcu's statement from October 19.
Sibanye told Mining Weekly in an emailed response that the meeting this week took place as anticipated and that the parties had agreed to a further meeting in the second week of November.
"We will continue to engage in good faith with the unions under the auspices of the CCMA in order to reach an agreement that is fair for employees but considers the long-term sustainability of the gold operations and does not compromise our other stakeholders," the miner said.
“Wage negotiations is a process of giving and taking and as a company we have engaged in good faith and adjusted the offer a number of times. Sibanye-Stillwater’s offer is inflation linked taking into account the cost pressures on employees in terms of increases in the cost of living,” the miner told Mining Weekly.