The Association of Mineworkers & Construction Union (AMCU) has been prevented from going on strike in South Africa’s gold sector, with the Labour Court ruling that the union must stick by the 2013 wage agreement.

Last year, an agreement was reached between the National Union of Mineworkers, UASA and Solidarity to increase wages by 8%. This was extended to Amcu members as 72% of the sector’s workers had been covered by the agreement.

Nevertheless, Amcu intended to strike anyway, arguing that the agreement had been negotiated collectively and that its union members were not bound by it. This was rejected by the labour court in January, and now the appeal has been rejected as well.

“The decision brings certainty about the binding nature of the 2013 wage agreement, which is in the best interest of employees, the industry, and our country. Historically, the gold industry has always conducted wage negotiatons at a centralised level and the process has always been inclusive and fair,” said Chamber of Mines chief negotiator, Elize Strydom.

Operations at Sibanye Gold’s Driefontein mine would have been affected, impacting 42% of the company’s total production. AngloGold Ashanti’s TauTona and the Harmony Gold’s Kusasalethu and Masimong mines would have been affected as well.

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