Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Amcu firm on Sibanye strike, warns of fresh strike in platinum sector

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) is pressing ahead with a protected wage strike at Sibanye-Stillwater’s gold operations from Wednesday night, after the company stuck to its offer in the 48-hour notice period.

At a press conference on Wednesday morning, Amcu President Joseph Mathunjwa accused Sibanye-Stillwater of paying large salaries to executives, including chief executive Neal Froneman, while “not sharing the wealth” with workers.

The union is demanding R1 000 annual increases for the next three years, while the three other unions at the company, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), Solidarity and UASA, accepted R700 in the first two years, and R825 in the third for most workers.

Mathunjwa promised to embark on a secondary strike in the platinum sector, at a yet-to-be-determined date, and any companies that have a “footprint” with Sibanye will be affected. “This is not a threat,” Mathunjwa said.

Sibanye-Stillwater has large platinum operations under its control, having bought Anglo-American Platinum’s Rustenburg operations in 2016 while the planned acquisition of Lonmin is awaiting regulatory approval.

AMCU embarked on a five-month protracted strike in the platinum sector in 2014, in a demand for R12 500 monthly wages for miners. Labour relations since then have been fairly stable on the volatile Platinum Belt.

Black Christmas for workers

“Does exploitation stop at Christmas?” Mathunjwa asked, adding that the no-work-no pay principle is a sacrifice workers are willing to make during the festive period, to ensure they earn a living wage.

According to the company’s data, Amcu represents 43% of Sibanye’s 32 200 employees in the gold operations, and no union is a majority representative. Mathunjwa said the number of employees staying away from work will show that the organisation is in fact the majority union.

Mathunjwa said Amcu was willing to meet Sibanye management to reach an agreement while the strike was ongoing, but company spokesperson James Wellstead maintains the agreement signed by three other unions is what the company can afford, without damaging its long term sustainability.

Wellstead added that any decisions to close shafts or operations during the industrial action would depend on how many employees were affected and whether there was any intimidation of workers reporting for duty.

Sibanye has faced a number of headwinds this year, with third quarter production figures disappointing the market amid more than 20 fatalities in the first half of the year, which resulted in frequent work stoppages.

The company is also awaiting a decision by the Competition Tribunal for the merger with Lonmin, which Amcu has opposed, as more than 10 000 jobs will be cut.

Wellstead said they expect a decision by the Competition Tribunal “fairly soon”, adding that Amcu’s threat of a secondary strike in the platinum sector would need to be given the necessary permission by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), or workers could face disciplinary action. — Fin24

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Tehillah Niselow
Tehillah Nieselow
Tehillah Nieselow is a Journalist at Power FM. She Covers labour issues, strikes, protests and general stories

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

Family wants clarity on SANDF soldier killed in friendly fire...

Corporal Simanga Khuselo join the peacekeeping mission in the DRC to save money to build his family a home

SA soldiers have been fighting in a distant land for...

Troops were sent to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2001 as part of the UN peacekeeping mission that became an offensive against rebels

More top stories

Roads decimate West Africa’s chimpanzee population

The species face mounting pressure from roads and infrastructure development in Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Senegal and Sierra Leone

South Africa gets major investment to treat Covid-19, TB, cancer,...

President Cyril Ramaphosa welcomed the investment, noting that it ‘is a leapfrog to cutting edge technology’

Mining industry vaccinates over 200 000 workers, mandatory vaccination not...

Minerals Council aims to get 80% of its workforce vaccinated by November

Despite inflation risks, the monetary policy committee keeps rates on...

Inflation rose well beyond the Reserve Bank’s midpoint target in August
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×