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A wage deal in sight at Sibanye’s gold mines

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TRADE union Solidarity said yesterday that a final wage deal might be in reach at Sibanye-Stillwater’s gold mines after the precious metals producer on Friday tabled a revised offer to employees.

This comes after seven months of negotiations had deadlocked. Wage talks between unions and Sibanye deadlocked in November after the unions rejected the company’s wage offer.

Last month the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration (CCMA) issued a strike certificate to unions permitting the unions, which include the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, the National Union of Mineworkers, Solidarity and Uasa, to embark on a strike at Sibanye’s South African gold operations in Gauteng and the Free State, and the company to implement a lockout within 12-months of issuance.

Solidarity general secretary Gideon du Plessis said yesterday: “It would appear as if an agreement may now be within reach with Sibanye-Stillwater after a marathon negotiation session last Friday.”

The trade unions would this week consult with their members about the revised offer.

Precious metal producer Sibanye Stillwater terminates R15 billion Brazil mines deal in a blow to its battery metals ambitions “Solidarity cannot speak on behalf of other trade unions but will encourage its members to consider the new offer favourably,” Solidarity said.

According to Solidarity, the artisans and officials’ represented offer has now been increased to grant 5 percent for each of the coming three years, higher than 2021’s average inflation rate and higher than the average inflation forecasts for 2022 and 2023.

The company’s previous offer to category 4 to 8 employees was an increase of R520 for year one, a R610 increase for year two, and a R640 increase for year three.

However, on Friday Sibanye-Stillwater amended its offer to employees in this category, offering an increase of R800 for years one, two and three.

Du Plessis said: “It was a frustrating seven months of negotiating during which parties negotiated with each other, mainly through CCMA facilitation …

“Friday’s change in approach, where the unions and the employer negotiated directly with each other with Sibanye’s negotiating team being boosted by representation of senior decision-makers, did bear fruit.

“It was thanks to such an approach that a settlement was reached at Harmony Gold within three months last year and within two weeks at Village Main Reef.

“This comes after bargaining with these two gold-mining houses kicked off at the same time as those with Sibanye in July 2021.

“Negotiations at Sibanye’s platinum mines will start as soon as an agreement has been reached with Sibanye as far as its gold mines are concerned.

“These negotiations promise to be much more robust, because during its gold mine negotiations the company consistently pleaded poverty and threatened with retrenchments while ascribing its favourable financial position to its profitable platinum mines,” Du Plessis said.

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