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Wage protest looms at Sibanye-Stillwater gold operation

Protest action threatens against precious metal producer Sibanye-Stillwater over rejected wage offers.

Members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) have issued a letter of intent to launch a protected strike at the group’s local gold operation.

According to Sibanye’s statement, the protest action will take place from the evening shift on March 9, 2022.

The protest comes a month after negotiations between the unions and Sibanye’s management failed over the latter’s offer to give a raise of R700 in each of the next three years (2022 to 2024).

Members, on the other hand, are demanding a raise of R1,000 for the same period and have since voted to strike until their demands are met.

“It is deeply disappointing that the two unions have chosen this course of action despite our continued involvement in an effort to reach an agreement on wages since June 2021,” said Neal Froneman, CEO of Sibanye-Stillwater.

“The offer we made on February 4, 2022 is reasonable, taking into account current cost of living inflation, the sustainability of SA gold operations and the long-term interests of all stakeholders.

“The offer is final; wage increases that are higher than inflation are unsustainable and cannot be considered,” emphasized Froneman.

He warns members should carefully consider the consequences of strike action, as it would not only jeopardize the sustainability of the gold operation, but also threaten the jobs and livelihoods of those who depend on it.

According to the group, the final offer is for three years and would mean that:

  • Category 4 – eight employees receive an average increase of 6% in the first year, which equates to an additional R800 per month; 5.7% in year two, equivalent to another R800 per month; and 5.4% in year three, again equivalent to an additional R800 per month. The R800 includes an increase in the exit charge of R100 per year.
  • In fringe terms, these inflation-linked increases will cause wages for Category 4 underground production at entry level to increase by approximately R34 397 over the three-year period to an average total guaranteed income of approximately R245 110 per year.
  • Miners, craftsmen and civil servants get a 5% increase in years one, two and three.

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