Sibanye stands resolute as AMCU, NUM submit strike notice

8th March 2022

By: Darren Parker

Creamer Media Contributing Editor Online


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Ahead of the planned start of strike action by many employees of Sibanye-Stillwater’s South African gold mines at the evening shift on March 9, Sibanye CEO Neal Froneman has remained steadfast, stating that the offer made on February 4 in an attempt to reach agreement on wages was “final”.

“Wage increases that are higher than inflation are not sustainable and cannot be considered,” he stated on March 8.

Froneman insisted the offer was fair in that it took into consideration current inflationary living costs, and considered the sustainability of the company’s South African gold operations and the interests of all stakeholders for the long term.

Wage negotiations between the company and workers represented by four unions – the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), Uasa and Solidarity, have been ongoing since June last year.

Solidarity and Uasa have accepted Sibanye’s latest wage offer, but AMCU and the NUM intend to proceed with strike action.

“It is very disappointing that the two unions have chosen this course of action despite our ongoing engagement. There are no winners in a strike. Not only would strike action undermine employment and the livelihoods of many people who depend on the South African gold operations, but employees will gain little to nothing from it,” Froneman said.

Under the terms of the latest offer, Category 4 to 8 employees would receive an average increase of 6% in the first year, 5.7% in the second year, and then 5.4% in the third year.

This would amount to employees receiving an R800 a month pay rise each year, which would include a R100 increase in the living out allowance each year.

Sibanye said that, in rand terms, the inflation-linked increases would result in wages for entry-level Category 4 underground production increasing by about R34 397 over the three-year period to an average total guaranteed income of about R245 110 a year.

Meanwhile, miners, artisans and officials would receive a flat increase of 5% year-on-year for the three years.

“We urge employees to carefully consider the consequences of strike action on them personally and collectively. Strike action will only serve to jeopardise the sustainability of our gold operations and, ultimately, their futures,” Froneman concluded.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online


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