Sibanye-Stillwater's share price declined 4.3 percent to R9.83 cents per share when markets opened on Tuesday. Photo: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

JOHANNESBURG  - Sibanye-Stillwater's share price declined 4.3 percent to R9.83 cents per share when markets opened on Tuesday following the public holiday as the ongoing strike at its gold operations in South Africa entered the fourth week.

A strike that began on November 21 by almost 15,000 workers affiliated to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) has seen a slump in production. The strike was marked by violence and intimidation and three people died and several were assaulted at the company's Beatrix, Kloof and Driefontein mines.

Sibanye currently employs approximately 32,200 people at its South African gold operations, with Amcu representing approximately 43 percent of employees in the bargaining unit. Amcu members embarked on a strike three weeks ago demanding R1,000 increases in monthly wages, every year for the next three years. 

But the three other unions which represent 49 percent of workforce - the National Union of Mineworkers, UASA and Solidarity - signed a three-year wage agreement with Sibanye in respect to wages and conditions of service for the period July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2021. 

The agreement allows for increases to the basic wage of category 4-8 surface and underground employees of R700 per month in the first year, R700 per month in the second year and R825 per month in the third year. 

Miners, artisans and officials will receive increases of 5.5 percent in year one and 5.5 percent or CPI, or whichever is the greater, in years two and three of the agreement.

Sibanye said entry level employees will now earn a guaranteed income of over R12,800 per month in the first year of the agreement, increasing to over R 14,900 per month, in year three. 

But if variable pay such as bonuses and other benefits was included, Sibanye said an entry level employee will on average earn more than R14,400 per month in total, in year one and over R16,500 per month in year three. 

But this has not moved Amcu, the trade union with the record of the longest strike in the South African mining industry, even after Sibanye extended a special cash advance of up to 50 percent of basic pay to employees in the bargaining unit to soften the negative financial impact of the "no work, no pay" principle applies.

Sibanye has not indicated whether this ongoing strike will have any impact on its production guidance for the quarter or the overall financial year end.

- African News Agency (ANA)