Sibanye-Stillwater begins fresh wage talks with striking unions

Sibanye-Stillwater has begun fresh wage negotiations with labour unions in a bid to resolve the protracted strike at its gold operations.

Members of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) have been striking over wage increases at Sibanye-Stillwater for almost three months after negotiations with the miner deadlocked.

Workers are demanding R1,000 for the surface and underground workers and 6% for the artisan miners and officials for three years, but Sibanye-Stillwater made a final offer of R850.

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NUM spokesperson Livhuwani Mammburu confirmed to The Citizen the gold miner and unions were meeting at the Birchwood Hotel in Boksburg on Thursday under the auspices of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) in a bid to resolve the strike.

“We are meeting at Birchwood Hotel where the company requested the meeting with the unions in terms of Section 150 of the Labour Relations Act.

“This means that the CCMA will be facilitating the conciliation and all the parties are here, including NUM, Amcu and the company,” Mammburu said.

This follows a meeting in Johannesburg on Wednesday convened by Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi between government ministers and Sibanye Stillwater.

The meeting was called to get feedback on progress made in resolving the strike that started in March.

Workers camping outside Union Buildings

Since last week, striking members of NUM and Amcu have been camping on the lawns of the Union Buildings in Pretoria, calling on President Cyril Ramaphosa and his administration to intervene to end the strike at Sibanye Stillwater.

Nxesi emphasised that government was not a party to the dispute but had an interest in seeing those involved find a speedy solution to the strike as it impacted the economy and the country’s reputation.

“I am convinced that our existing labour relations framework is robust and effective enough and has sufficient mechanisms,” Nxesi said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Mammburu said NUM was not hopeful that the fresh wage talks would result in a resolution to the strike.

“Honestly speaking we don’t know if the talks will be successful. The company has been very arrogant and stubborn where else they pay themselves R300 million and the workers are still earning poverty wages,” he said.

Mammburu was referring to the R300.3 million paid in remuneration by Sibanye-Stillwater last year to its CEO Neal Froneman. Unions are angered by the bonus payout to Froneman, describing the amount as immoral.

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