Amcu strike aims to promote alternative, parochial agenda, says Sibanye
Companies / 21 February 2019, 10:33am / Siphelele Dludla
JOHANNESBURG - Sibanye-Stillwater said on Thursday that the ongoing strike by members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) at its gold operations was undertaken to promote an alternative and parochial agenda.
This as Amcu gears up for a secondary strike in the platinum and coal sectors next week in support of its members in the gold sector at Sibanye which threatens to close down the entire South African mining industry.
At least 15,000 workers affiliated to Amcu have been on a protected strike at Sibanye's gold operations for three months since the midnight shift on 21 November 2018, demanding higher wages.
They downed tools after refusing a three-year wage agreement signed by the mine and three other unions, and were demanding a R1,000 annual wage hike over three years.
In an operational report on Thursday, Sibanye said the Amcu strike had impacted its gold production in the second half of 2018.
"The emerging recovery in the operational performance of the SA gold operations in H2 2018 was interrupted by the strike called by Amcu on 21 November 2018. While ostensibly related to wages, we believe that this irresponsible action was undertaken to promote an alternative, more parochial agenda," it said.
Sibanye said it had put in place response plans to maintain peace and stability to ensure employees' safety, and mitigate financial losses by optimizing production through the concentration of underground mining activity to specific operating areas.
Sibanye said it has also reduced fixed costs by switching off services and utilities across areas where production activity has been suspended.
"Whilst these strike plans have been implemented across the operations, the strike action continues to impact on our operations to varying extents," Sibanye said.
The miner also admitted that certain business units at the SA gold operations had experienced ongoing losses irrespective of the strike action, and that restructuring had become imperative to establish a sustainably profitable operating footprint.
Sibanye announced last week that it would begin consultation on the section 189 process that could result in the retrenchments of more than 6,600 workers, including contractors, at its gold operations due to losses during the past financial year.
Neal Froneman, Sibanye chief executive, said 2018 was a mixed year during which the group experienced an anomalous number of disruptive events concentrated at its South African gold operations.
"Despite the challenges, we have concluded the year in a strong position to pursue our strategic trajectory of creating superior value for all stakeholders," Froneman said.
"More specifically we look forward to the value creation flowing into our market valuation in a constructive global climate for precious metals."
Sibanye has reviewed its losses and expects to report an attributable loss of R2,5 billion (U.S.$189 million) for the year ended 31 December 2018 as a result of recent changes in tax legislation in the United States (US).