Labour minister Mildred Oliphant has welcomed the wage settlement agreement at Sibanye-Stillwater which ended a five month long strike.
The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) on Wednesday signed a three-year deal with Sibanye following grueling talks that deadlocked numerous times with several court cases, effectively ending the strike by 15,000 workers at the company’s gold operations which began last November.
“No-doubt these … months have been the most difficult period for all parties involved,” Oliphant said.
“This is victory for all involved, the sector, the economy and the country as a whole. This once again is testimony that through social dialogue, all-be-it, it takes time and effort, nothing is impossible.”
AMCU was demanding R1,000 annual wage increments for the next three years. Rival unions National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), Solidarity and the United Association of South Africa (Uasa) last year accepted an increase of R750 per year for the period 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2021.
On Wednesday, AMCU ended up signing the 2018 three-year wage agreement previously signed with the three other unions.
The union has committed to abiding by decisions of the court and said no further appeals would be instituted. It also agreed to develop a plan to ensure a safe start and ramp-up of production post-strike.
On its part, Sibanye agreed to an ex gratia payment of R4,000 for all employees at its gold operations in the form of cash or a voucher, to alleviate hardships and also offered a cash advance of R5,000 upon request from employees who have gone without salaries for months, which will be repayable over 12 month.
Oliphant congratulated the leadership of AMCU led by its president Joseph Mathunjwa and Sibanye’s leadership team for finally leading the process to an amicable conclusion.
She said her intervention through the CCMA and the high-level engagements with the leadership of the union had acted as building blocks to this outcome.
“I wish all the parties all the best as they begin to make up the lost production time that our economy so desperately need,” Oliphant said.
– African News agency (ANA)