Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), Solidarity and UASA have united to reject precious metal miner Sibanye-Stillwater’s latest pay offer for employees at its South African gold operations .

Together, the unions mainly want a three-year pay increase of Rand 1,500 per year for surface and underground workers in categories 4 to 8, in addition to other increases in fringe benefits.

Sibanye tendered R400 the first year, R520 the second and R540 the third year for surface and underground miners in categories 4 to 8; while artisans, miners and civil servants would benefit from increases of 3.4%, 4.3% and 4.3%.

At a joint briefing on October 1, the unions said Sibanye-Stillwater’s bid was significantly lower than what had been agreed with Gold Fields and Harmony Gold – both of which are competing on the same market and the same economic climate as Sibanye.

The four unions want Sibanye to assess its offer based on recent wage deals with Gold Fields and Harmony on the basis that Sibanye made a profit of R25 billion in the first half of this year.

In this regard, the General Treasurer of AMCU Jimmy gama said Sibanye could “not plead poverty” and that the miners deserved recognition for their contribution to Sibanye’s strong financial performance.

“It is important to recognize workers for the critical role we played in Sibanye’s record performance,” the unions said in a statement.

However, Sibanye’s senior vice president of investor relations James wellsted recount Weekly Mining that the company’s South African gold operations contributed R 516 million, or 2% of first half profits.

“As such, the South African gold operations are extremely marginal and cannot absorb the level of wage increase demanded by the unions without incurring losses, which would lead to the early closure of the mines and have a significant negative impact. on other stakeholders who depend on these operations.

In a joint statement, the unions point out that Sibanye has broadened its business model to include the growing battery metals industry, and has increased its South African gold production by 29% in the past six months. According to the unions, this shows that Sibanye is able to offer better pay increases.

In this regard, Wellsted asserts that Sibanye’s growth was undertaken to ensure the sustainability of the entire organization. “South African gold operations are unable to absorb these demands without impacting the sustainability of operations. We cannot subsidize loss-making operations from profitable operations, as this threatens sustainability and may impact other group stakeholders. “

The unions, for their part, say they are not demanding “record pay”, but simply a “fair and market-related increase” in the monthly incomes of its members.

As part of a wage deal, the unions also want a transportation allowance of R 1,500, or transportation for Burnstone employees from Sibanye and the wages of Burnstone miners to be harmonized with those of other Sibanye operations; a meal allowance of R 150 per day in lieu of packed lunches; 10% additional for the employees of the fund; and a R500 increase in housing allowance each year for three years.

The unions also want the group-wide retirement age lowered from 65 to 63 and imposed without alleged favoritism.

Going forward, says Wellsted, Sibanye will still engage with unions under the auspices of the Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration Council.

“Details of the wage agreements will be provided once the agreement is concluded.”

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