Court stops platinum workers joining strike

Sibanye-Stillwater this week won a court bid to stop the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) from spreading its strike at its gold operations to include workers at local platinum mines.

Sibanye spokesperson James Wellsted said the company claimed the victory this week at the Johannesburg Labour Court against Amcu after the union applied for a secondary strike in the platinum sector.

That would have resulted in platinum workers joining the close to four-month strike, which was started on November 21, by workers at Sibanye’s gold mines.

The Amcu said on Friday that it viewed the judgment as a serious infringement on the right of workers to engage in secondary strike action. The union said it would apply for urgent leave to appeal the judgment.

The parties are still waiting for the outcome in the high court of Sibanye’s application for a declaratory order to extend the wage agreement signed by the other unions to include Amcu.

The other matter still awaiting a court outcome is Amcu’s own challenge against Sibanye’s decision to retrench workers.

Wellsted previously said the group was willing to engage but not about the wage offer, which is the union’s key bone of contention.

“That offer is final and will not be increased. We are happy to engage but not about the wage increase. We negotiated for almost five months and we would be making a mockery of that process and the other three unions that signed that offer,” Wellsted said.

Sibanye signed a wage deal that offered increases of R700 a month in the first and second years and R825 a month in the third year to some categories of employees. Amcu wants a R1 000 a month annual hike each year for three years.

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