JOHANNESBURG – The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) has threatened to shut down the mining industry in a bid to oppose Sibanye-Stillwater’s plan to cut about 7 000 employees at its ailing gold mines.
Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa said yesterday the union would lead a secondary strike across the platinum and coal sectors in solidarity with about 15 000 members at Sibanye’s Kloof, Beatrix and Driefontein mines who have been on strike since November 2018.
“It (the secondary strike) will be starting – wait and see next week what will happen in South Africa,” he said.
Amcu members downed tools after refusing a three-year wage agreement signed by the mine and three other unions, and was demanding a R1 000 annual wage hike over three years.
The secondary-strike threat comes as Sibanye announced last week that it had embarked on a consultative process with organised labour on the possible restructuring of its loss-making Beatrix 1 and Driefontein 2, 6, 7 and 8 shafts. The company said the restructuring would likely lead to 6 678 contractors losing their jobs.
Sibanye-Stillwater was not immediately available for comment.
The company, which is valued at R34 billion, previously flagged it would shrug off the Amcu-led strike at its gold operations, saying that its platinum assets would post robust numbers for the year ended December 2018.
The market is expecting earnings for the JSE-listed company to firm about 400 percent on the back of the strong palladium price and the doubling of the rhodium price in the year ending December 2018.
Sibanye-Stillwater has strengthened 48 percent in the year to date, to trade at R15.58 a share.
Amcu has led a crippling five-month strike in the platinum belt and wants Sibanye-Stillwater’s chief executive, Neal Froneman, to be axed and for shareholders to disinvest from the company.
“They must choose either Froneman or their investment,” Mathunjwa said. “Amcu is calling on all responsible shareholders who invest in Sibanye-Stillwater to disinvest immediately, and send a clear signal to Froneman that he cannot crush the livelihoods of black mineworkers and the communities that feed the mines,” he said.
Mathunjwa said the secondary strike would hit Harmony Gold Company, AngloGold Ashanti and Impala Platinum. The union also expected to notify the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration about the strike before giving employers notice seven days ahead of the strike.