Sibanye braces for second AMCU strike

The entrance to the Sibanye-Stillwater mine. (Iavan Pijoos/News24)
The entrance to the Sibanye-Stillwater mine. (Iavan Pijoos/News24)

Sibanye-Stillwater [JSE:SGL], reeling from a nine-week strike by AMCU at its gold operations, is bracing for further labour action as the union prepares for a secondary strike at the firm’s Rustenburg mines next week.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union says it has filed a notice for a strike at Sibanye’s platinum operations, in an attempt to pile pressure on the company to consider the union's wage demands.

"The secondary strike at Sibanye’s platinum mines in Rustenburg would affect about five mines. It is a secondary strike to the ongoing action by members at the gold mines," said Jimmy Gama, AMCU National Treasurer.

About 15 000 AMCU members at Sibanye's gold operations south of Johannesburg downed tools in November, demanding an annual wage increase of R1 000 for the next three years.

"The union has filed a notice with the mine and we intend to go on strike on Tuesday next week. The workers’ demands remain. We believe that the secondary strike would put pressure on the company to consider our position," he said.

AMCU is the only union that did not sign a wage increase agreement committing to a lesser amount, which was reached last year with the company. Sibanye spokesperson James Wellsted confirmed the planned action by AMCU, saying it would hit operations hard if it went ahead, as the union has large membership in Rustenburg.

"We have received the notice, and the strike is likely to have a significant impact if goes ahead as planned," he said.

Wellsted said the company, which is in the process of merging with Lonmin, was in the process of verifying AMCU membership in the gold sector, and if the union does not hold a majority, the strike could be declared illegal.

Last week, Sibanye said it expected gold production for 2018 to be marginallly below guidance, due in part to the successful implementation of measures to mitigate the impact of a strike. Output was expected to be approximately 34 600kg, lower than the previous guidance of between 35 000kg and 36 000kg for the year.

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