JOHANNESBURG - Mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe said on Thursday the end of a five-month long strike at Sibanye-Stillwater's gold operations augured well for much-needed stability in the sector and the whole mining industry in South Africa.
"We must never tire to create a conducive environment for meaningful collective bargaining negotiations; coupled with working and living conditions free from the fear of violence and intimidation," Mantashe said.
The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) on Wednesday signed a three-year deal with Sibanye following grueling talks that deadlocked numerous times with several court cases, effectively ending the strike by 15,000 workers at the company's gold operations which began last November.
The wage agreement it signed AMCU signed on Wednesday is the same one signed by the National Union of Mineworkers, Solidarity and the United Association of South Africa (Uasa) at the collective bargain last year when they accepted an increase of R750 per year for the period 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2021.
Sibanye has cut down its expected gold production for 2018 to approximately 34,600 kg or 1.1 million ounces, marginally below previous guidance of between 35,000 kg and 36,000 kg or 1.13 million ounces and 1.16 million ounces as a result of the strike which began last November.
Mantashe said the end of the strike pointed to the return to full production at Sibanye, which would impact positively on gold production figures in a sector that has been in decline.
He said all social partners and stakeholders must do everything in their power to ensure a productive industry and grow the economy.
The conclusion of the strike would result in peace, safety and security in and around the Carletonville community, Mantashe added.
In its initial stages, the AMCU strike was characterized by serious violence which resulted in the death of nine people and the burning of more than 60 houses in the Carletonville area during inter-union rivalry and intimidation.
- African News Agency (ANA)