Sibanye-Stillwater
Sibanye Gold's Cooke shaft headgear
Precious metals miner Sibanye has reported illegal and unprotected industrial action at its Cooke operations.

This follows the implementation of measures to combat illegal mining which threaten the sustainability of the Cooke operations and pose a significant risk to the safety of employees and the surrounding communities.

Despite communication with employees and agreement from majority union the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), employees at Cooke embarked on the unprotected strike prior to the nightshift on Tuesday, 6 June 2017.

The strike has been associated with a significant amount of threats and intimidation and 16 employees have regrettably been seriously assaulted whilst attempting to report for work.

Due to the intimidation and violence, Sibanye have increased security in the areas surrounding the mines and routes to the operations in order to ensure the safety of employees who wish to report for work.

An interdict against the strike was applied and granted by the Labour court on 8 June 2017. Despite the interdict and direct communication of the consequences of persisting with the strike, employees have not returned to work. As a result, dismissal procedures have been implemented against striking employees.

Illegal mining is a significant threat, not only to the safety of our employees and surrounding communities, but to the viability of operations. Despite adequate communication with employees and agreement with the major unions, this strike action supports our view that there is significant collusion taking place throughout the industry that supports this illegal and dangerous activity,” says Wayne Robinson, CEO of Sibanye’s gold division.

“71 illegal miners have surfaced from underground and been arrested since the unprotected strike started, highlighting the extent of the problem. We condemn any violence and intimidation against employees and will take appropriate action against any perpetrators.”

Feature image credit: Sibanye