SA’s largest mining unions join to dispute Sibanye-Stillwater’s wage offer

SOUTH Africa’s largest mining unions will on Friday hold a press conference to discuss a decision to combine their forces in opposition to Sibanye-Stillwater following a pay dispute they announced jointly on September 29, said Bloomberg News.

The National Union of Mineworkers, Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, UASA and Solidarity are asking for a monthly pay increase of R1,500 for workers in Sibanye-Stillwater’s gold mines. The deal would run over each of the next three years.

In its report Bloomberg News observed that a united labor force would present “a different dynamic for South African mining companies”.

NUM and AMCU, the biggest unions in the gold sector, have long been at loggerheads with violent clashes regular occurrences as they vie for members. Three years ago, AMCU embarked on a five-month strike that crippled Sibanye-Stillwater’s gold mines after it initially rejected a wage deal that had been agreed upon by the other unions.

“We are all fighting for the common cause,” said NUM spokesman Livhuwani Mammburu. “What’s the use of allowing companies like Sibanye-Stillwater to divide us.”

The labour groups have declared a dispute and the talks are now taking place under the auspices of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration, said Sibanye-Stillwater’s spokesman James Wellsted told the newswire.

Sibanye-Stillwater employs almost 31,000 workers in a South African gold industry that’s struggling to curb costs amid the geological challenges of the world’s deepest mines, said Bloomberg News.