JSE/NYSE Sibanye-Stillwater has reported that the five month strike by AMCU at its South African gold operations has been resolved.
Sibanye-Stillwater CEO, Neal Froneman comments:
“We are pleased that the extended strike at our gold operations has ended, without undermining other stakeholders or compromising their rights.
“We are encouraged by AMCU’s commitment to peace and safety. We are hopeful that the relationship can now be rebuilt in a constructive manner, for the future benefit of all stakeholders.
“It is with sadness that we reflect on the losses and hardship resulting from the strike, which include lives lost and serious injuries sustained.
“We are fully committed to restoring the gold operations to profitability, for the benefit of all stakeholders including employees, the local communities and those dependent on the regional economy.”
Both parties have acknowledged that it is in their interest to re-base and develop a constructive relationship going forward.
The parties agree that in acknowledgement of the need for a constructive working relationship they will foster a safe and sustainable business that creates value for all stakeholders.
The parties therefore agree to a facilitated ‘post-strike conflict’ relationship building program aimed at aligning leaders of both organised labour and management.
As part of the agreement reached with Sibanye-Stillwater, AMCU has committed, inter alia to the following conditions:
- signing the 2018 three-year wage agreement previously signed with National Union of Mineworkers (the NUM), Solidarity and UASA in respect of wages and conditions of service for the period 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2021
- affirm commitment to conclude a peace pact within 30 days
- abide by the decisions of the court and that no further appeals will be instituted or pursued
- developing and implementing, along with other stakeholders, a plan to ensure a safe start and ramp-up of production post-strike, and to promote and ensure sustainable safe production together with the company
Sibanye-Stillwater has agreed to, inter alia:
- an ex gratia payment of R4,000 for all employees at its gold operations in the form of cash or a voucher, to alleviate hardship
- offer a cash advance of R5,000 upon request of the employees which will be repayable over a 12 month period
- assistance with debt consolidation and counselling as part of the existing ‘Care for iMali’ program
- waive its rights to reclaim costs incurred on behalf of employees during the strike including contributions to medical aid and pension/provident funds, accommodation and feeding costs
- provide transport for employees to return to work
- any employees who were dismissed for strike related misconduct will be subject to normal disciplinary proceedings in line with Sibanye-Stillwater’s disciplinarily code and procedures which include the right to lodge a complaint in line with the formal grievance procedures
As a result of the agreement, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union strike is no longer protected and all employees will been notified to report for work as per a build-up schedule which will be communicated internally in due course.
The safety and wellness of our employees is our first priority and in line with our CARES values, the immediate focus will be on ensuring that the gold operations re-commence safely. Initial shifts will consist of fit-for-work medicals, training and assessing work places before mining activities can re-commence.
The Minister of Mineral Resources, Gwede Mantashe, has welcomed the end of AMCU’s five-month strike at Sibanye-Stillwater’ gold operations.
“This development augurs well for much-needed stability in the gold sector. It also points to the return to full production at the company’s operations, which is expected to impact positively on productivity figures in the gold sector.
“This is critical for this sector that is in decline.”
The Minister further noted that all social partners and stakeholders must do everything in their power to ensure a working, productive industry; and grow the economy.