JSE/NYSE-listed Sibanye-Stillwater has received notice from AMCU that it intends to embark on protected strike action at the company’s gold operations from the evening of 21 November 2018.
This follows an announcement on 14 November 2018, of a three-year wage agreement that was reached, after several months of negotiations, between Sibanye-Stillwater and the other representative unions; the National Union of Mineworkers (the NUM), Solidarity and UASA.
Despite ongoing attempts by Sibanye-Stillwater to reach a fair and reasonable outcome during the negotiations, with Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) representatives, the national leadership of AMCU intervened and has persisted with its original, unaffordable demands.
The average basic wages for category 4-8 employees have increased by more than 65% since Sibanye-Stillwater was unbundled from Gold Fields in 2013.
This is significantly above inflation and represents a very real improvement in the standard of living of our employees.
The current wage agreement reached with NUM, Solidarity and UASA is again well in excess of inflation, but takes the longer term sustainability of the gold operations into consideration.
“It is disappointing that AMCU leadership has chosen this course of action, despite ongoing engagement with AMCU representatives, since June,” comments Sibanye-Stillwater CEO, Neal Froneman.
“The agreement we reached with the other unions is fair and final and considers the current challenges facing our gold operations. We will honour this agreement and have made a commitment that we will not increase the offer.”
Sibanye-Stillwater currently employs approximately 32 200 people at its South African gold operations, with AMCU representing approximately 43% of employees in the bargaining unit.
“The fact that AMCU national leadership is willing to take its members out on strike ahead of the December holiday period, is very unfortunate and irresponsible, given the financial consequences a strike will have on our employees and their families.
“The offer accepted by the other unions is currently being implemented across the gold operations, and all employees, including AMCU members, will benefit from the increase.
“Employees who decide to go on strike will not receive wages however and we will not be increasing our offer, so the decision by AMCU leadership to call a strike, when they are aware of the hardship it will cause their members over the festive season, is perplexing and of grave concern.
“We urge AMCU and its members to strike peacefully and respect the right of the other employees to continue working without any intimidation or violence,” concludes Froneman.