South African gold miners end five-month wage strike

We are pleased that the extended strike at our gold operations has ended,” Sibanye-Stillwater CEO Neal Froneman

Thousands of gold miners at South Africa’s Sibanye-Stillwater gold mines ended a five-month strike Wednesday after agreeing to sign a three-year wage deal, the company and a labour union announced.

Some 15,000 members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) downed tools in November over a pay dispute.

They have now agreed to a pay rise of 5.5 percent for the first year followed by 5.5 percent or the prevailing annual rate of inflation — whichever is greater — the two following years.

“We are going to sign the agreement. That means the strike has come to an end officially,” AMCU leader Joseph Mathunjwa told workers at a meeting at Driefontein mine southwest of Johannesburg.

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“It’s not been an easy road,” he was quoted as saying in a union statement.

The miners are expected to resume work on Tuesday.

“We are pleased that the extended strike at our gold operations has ended,” Sibanye-Stillwater CEO Neal Froneman said in a statement.

Sibanye-Stillwater, the second largest gold producer in the country, in February announced plans to shed more than 6,000 jobs out of its total gold workforce of 37,000, after five shafts at its Beatrix and Driefontein operations made financial losses last year.

Gold was for many decades the backbone of South Africa’s economy, but production has declined sharply due to depletion of reserves.

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