Sibanye-Stillwater has extended the wage agreement with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), UASA and Solidarity on November 14, to all employees at its South African gold operations. During the course of a three-week strike, which was called by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) on November 21, the collective membership of the NUM, UASA and Solidarity increased to more than 50% of the employees at the South African gold operations.
The South African Labor Relations Act provides for the wage agreement to be extended to and bind all other employees to the collective agreement, which includes those who are not members of a trade union. As a result of the extension of the wage agreement, the AMCU strike is no longer protected and all employees are required to report for work on December 15.
“We are pleased that we have been able to resolve this strike, which has been detrimental for all stakeholders,” said Sibanye-Stillwater CEO Neal Froneman. “It is especially gratifying that our employees have exercised their right to work and provide for their families, by joining those unions, which concluded a fair and reasonable wage agreement. Their support for an agreement that takes the sustainability of the operations into account while providing for wage increases well above inflation, especially for entry level employees, is welcomed.”
Froneman, however, did bring up the violence and damage caused by the strike, including assaults on employees.
“Sibanye-Stillwater will be considering all legal options to address violence against the company and its employees,” he said. “In particular, Sibanye-Stillwater’s management is mindful of the financial impact of this strike on our employees, and while the no work no pay rule will apply, we are applying our minds on how to ameliorate the hardship for our employees.”
On December 11, Sibanye-Stillwater reported that violent actions by groups of striking AMCU members close to its Beatrix operations in the Free State province, were ongoing. In the early hours, various altercations between the South African Police and large groups of AMCU members resulted in a number of employees being injured.