Business Maverick

LABOUR PAINS

CCMA issues strike certificate to unions for Sibanye-Stillwater gold strike

From left: Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union president Joseph Mathunjwa. (Photo: Gallo Images / City Press / Tebogo Letsie) | The Sibanye-Stillwater Khuseleka platinum mine. (Photo: Waldo Swiegers / Bloomberg via Getty Images) | National Union of Mineworkers' members protest in Sandton. (Photo: Gallo Images / Daily Sun / Christopher Moagi) | NUM Deputy General Secretary William Mabapa. (Photo: Supplied)

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) has finally issued a strike certificate to four unions at Sibanye-Stillwater’s South Africa gold operations after the finalisation of picketing rules. This paves the way for employees to down tools after wage talks collapsed late in 2021.

The CCMA issued the certificate on Monday, according to the date on the document which has been obtained by Business Maverick. The dispute was declared late in 2021 after wage talks deadlocked between the company and four unions – Solidarity, Uasa, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu).

The date of the strike is not clear as the four unions involved must meet and agree among themselves.

Sibanye’s final offer would have seen a monthly increase of R520 in year one for the lowest-paid worker categories; R610 in year two; and R640 in year three. For miners, artisans and officials the offer was for an increase of 4.1% in year one; 4.7% in year two; and 4.7% in year three.

For the lowest-paid categories that would be roughly in line with the current inflation rate of 5.5%.

The unions have been pushing for increases in line with those that Harmony Gold agreed to in 2021, which will see monthly hikes for the lowest-paid categories of R1,000 a month in each of the three years covered by the deal.

Unions maintain that Sibanye can afford this given the profits it is reaping at its platinum division, but the company says it does not cross-subsidise between its divisions, setting the stage for a strike. DM/BM

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