Amcu to embark on secondary strike at Sibanye-Stillwater's platinum mines

15 January 2019 - 11:15 By Nomahlubi Jordaan
Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa says the proposed strike will mark one of the biggest examples of mass rolling strike action by a single union in South African history. Sibanye-Stillwater CE Neal Froneman said the wage agreement reached with the unions representing most employees at the gold operations 'is fair and final'. File photo
Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa says the proposed strike will mark one of the biggest examples of mass rolling strike action by a single union in South African history. Sibanye-Stillwater CE Neal Froneman said the wage agreement reached with the unions representing most employees at the gold operations 'is fair and final'. File photo
Image: PUXLEY MAKGATHO

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) will embark on  secondary strike action at Sibanye-Stillwater’s platinum operations in Rustenburg. 

The strike, according to the union, will be in support of the current strike at Sibanye-Stillwater’s gold operations on the West Rand and in the Free State, which has entered its ninth week. The workers are demanding a R12,000 minimum wage.

"Earlier today, Amcu sent an official notice to Sibanye-Stillwater, indicating that it will be embarking on secondary strike action from January 22 2019," said union president Joseph Mathunjwa.

This secondary strike, according to Mathunjwa, will see around 12,500 Amcu members employed at Sibanye-Stillwater’s platinum operations joining about 15,000 of their counterparts from the same company’s gold operations.

 "It will mark one of the biggest examples of mass rolling strike action across different mineral commodities by a single union in South African history," the union said.

"Our members in the platinum sector have been persuaded by [CE Neal] Froneman's unrepentant statements. They have concluded that their hard work is being abused to deny their fellow comrades economic emancipation, a fair living wage and progressive conditions of employment. They will now show their solidarity through sympathy in action. We will show monopoly capital the true meaning of the word ‘solidarity'," Mathunjwa said.

According to Amcu, Froneman "boasted" in a newspaper that his income from platinum operations is making him immune from the strike in gold.

 "He added insult to injury by stating that the strike did not hurt him at all, and that actually he was doing better due to the infamous 'no-work-no-pay' rule applying to striking workers. This move was very short-sighted from a strategic point of view and it has only served as further agitation of the employees he has exploited over time," Mathunjwa said.

Sibanye-Stillwater said on Tuesday that it had received notice from Amcu of its intention to embark on a secondary strike.

Froneman said: "Although not surprising, the notice for a secondary strike at our South African PGM operations in Rustenburg is disappointing, as all stakeholders will be negatively affected, but more so those employees who will be exposed to the no-work, no-pay principle."

He said the South African PGM operations had "been preparing for this outcome and as such have strike contingency plans in place to minimise the possible impact of a strike". He said the company's US PGM operations, "with their high exposure to a rampant palladium price, continue to provide welcome diversification and support through the strike".

"We reiterate that the wage agreement we reached with the unions representing the majority of our employees employed at our gold operations is fair and final and will not be amended by Amcu's demands or threats," he added.

X