South Africa: Gold Mine Workers’ at Strike Sibanye-Stillwater Enters Second Month

The strike action by workers at South Africa’s Sibanye-Stillwater gold mine has entered its second month, without an end in sight as the workers have now forfeited more than 16,000 rands in lost wages since the strike began on March 9. The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) and National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) declared a strike at Sibanye-Stillwater’s gold mines after talks over a pay increase stalled and insist on not going back to work until the $11 billion conglomerate yields to their demands.

The impasse is as a result of the 1000 rand increase demanded by the unions of workers while Sibanye-Stillwater offers only 700 rands, adding that agreeing to the ask will add more than $2.5 billion to its wage bill over the next three years.

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As the two unions Amcu and NUM continued to hold out, smaller unions Solidarity and Uasa accepted the wage offer on March 14. These unions account for about 10% of the staff total in the gold operations. Wage negotiations are typically handled by the Minerals Council. However, Sibanye-Stillwater and another mining company Harmony chose to negotiate outside of the council’s bargaining meeting.

Although the company is eager to see work resume, gold mining accounts for only 6% of its group’s EBITDA and its other operations in its platinum and palladium mines are ongoing. The company is currently trading at 5,7200 rands per share on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

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