Sibanye Stillwater locks out striking workers and halts operations

Gold mining giant Sibanye Stillwater will be implementing a lockout at its gold operations in Gauteng and the Free State amid a strike by workers.

Sibanye Stillwater also said it had stopped operations at its mines.

Employees affiliated to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), Solidarity and the United Association of South Africa (UASA) are striking over wages.

Sibanye has offered category four to eight employees an average increase of 6%, which amounts to an additional R800 for the first year of the deal and for year two, workers are offered 5.7% and for the third year, 5.4%.

However, NUM and AMCU affiliates are demanding R1,000 for underground workers and 6% for artisans, miners and officials.

Sibanye Stillwater said despite the company’s best efforts to reach a wage agreement that is fair, it takes into account inflationary increases and ensures the sustainability of the SA gold operations.

“Although the company has made multiple moves with the positional bargaining negotiations, the union coalition hasn’t moved materiality from their initial demands and therefore the parties remain in deadlock.”

Meanwhile, trade union Solidarity said it will approach the Labour Court on an urgent basis to obtain an interdict against the lock-out that will be applied to its members at Sibanye-Stillwater.

Riaan Visser, deputy general secretary for the Mining, Agriculture and Chemical Industry at Solidarity said in terms of the lock-out notice, the majority of members of all the unions involved have to accept an offer before a settlement can be reached.

“This implies that Solidarity’s members who have accepted the offer will also be locked out, and the principle of no work, no pay will apply. Solidarity contends that this move by Sibanye-Stillwater makes it clear that by punishing and bullying its loyal employees the company has lost its moral compass.”

Sibanye’s shares slumped 4.8% by the close of trading in Johannesburg on Thursday and comes at a time when the gold price is on an upward trend.

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