CCMA issues strike certificate over Sibanye-Stillwater gold wage dispute

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Sibanye-Stillwater's gold operations.
Sibanye-Stillwater's gold operations.
  • The CCMA has issued a certificate of non-resolution after wage talks between Sibanye-Stillwater and unions deadlocked.
  • Unions now need only give 48 hours' notice before embarking on strike action.
  • The company has urged labour to reconsider its offer.

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) has issued a certificate of non-resolution, paving the way for unions to embark on a strike at Sibanye-Stillwater’s gold operations in Gauteng and the Free State.

As announced by Sibanye-Stillwater on Friday, the commission’s certificate has been issued in respect of the dispute conciliation process between the company and the labour unions, comprising the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), Solidarity and UASA, as it relates to wage negotiations at the company’s gold operations.

"The certificate permits the unions to embark on a strike and the company to implement a lock-out within a twelve-month period from issuance. Both parties need to give the counter party 48 hours’ notice prior to embarking on any action," Sibanye-Stillwater said in a statement.

The CCMA has also established picketing rules, setting out the requirements and responsibilities for both the company and unions to ensure it conducted activities in a lawful, peaceful and orderly manner.

Despite the certificate being issued, Sibanye-Stillwater continues to urge unions and employees to reconsider its offer which, it notes, is in line with inflation.

"Sibanye-Stillwater will continue to engage with the unions in an attempt to reach a fair and reasonable agreement but will not be coerced into accepting a wage settlement that compromises the interests of other stakeholders," the company said.

In light of the protracted negotiations, Sibanye decided to back-pay employees in line with its current offer for the months of July, August September, October and November last year.

"This considered the impact that Covid-19 had on the country over the last two years and provided much-needed financial support for many employees, who are the main breadwinners for their families and often extended families, during the festive season break," the company said.

Against an original demand of R1 500 per worker per year for three years, Sibanye has offered an increase of R480 in year one, R570 in year two, and R600 in year three for certain categories of surface and underground workers. This excludes a R40 per month increase in the Living Out Allowance each year. Miners, artisans and officials are offered an increase of 4.1% in year one, 4.7% in year two, and 4.7% in year three.

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