Sibanye clinches new US wage deal af­ter ax­ing 1 500 strik­ing min­ers

The Star Early Edition - - BUSINESS REPORT - Di­neo Faku

SIBANYE Gold, which dis­missed over 1 500 em­ploy­ees at its Cooke op­er­a­tions south west of Jo­han­nes­burg amid an il­le­gal strike yes­ter­day, re­ported it had clinched a two-year wage agree­ment at Still­wa­ter Min­ing, its newly ac­quired USbased plat­inum and pal­la­dium pro­ducer.

Sibanye said it had agreed to a 2 per­cent gen­eral wage in­crease for all job cat­e­gories ef­fec­tive from June 2 to Jan­uary 1, 2018 with the United Steel Work­ers of Amer­ica.

Em­ploy­ees would re­ceive a fur­ther 1 per­cent in­crease, which was ef­fec­tive from Jan­uary 1, 2018 to June 1, 2018.

A 2 per­cent an­nual in­crease would be in ef­fect for the sec­ond year of the agree­ment from June 2, 2018 to June 1, 2019.

Sibanye chief ex­ec­u­tive Neal Frone­man said in a state­ment he was en­cour­aged by the sen­si­ble and ma­ture man­ner in which stake­hold­ers had en­gaged to agree on a mu­tu­ally favourable out­come for the com­pany and its em­ploy­ees.

“We look for­ward to sim­i­lar en­gage­ments with all of our stake­hold­ers at the Still­wa­ter Op­er­a­tions and are op­ti­mistic about the im­por­tant role these op­er­a­tions will play in the fu­ture of the Sibanye Group,” Frone­man said.

Sibanye com­pleted the ac­qui­si­tion of Still­wa­ter on May 4 for $2.2 bil­lion (R28.6bn).

Still­wa­ter, which em­ploys around 400 peo­ple, pro­duces 550 000 ounces of 2E plat­inum group met­als a year split be­tween 78 per­cent for pal­la­dium and 22 per­cent for plat­inum from two op­er­at­ing mines.

Si­bonginkosi Nyanga, an an­a­lyst at Mo­men­tum SP Reid Se­cu­ri­ties, said the wage deal was a re­flec­tion of the ma­tu­rity of the US labour en­vi­ron­ment.

“The US is a low-in­fla­tion en­vi­ron­ment and it is not sur­pris­ing that the com­pany has agreed to the 2 per­cent in­crease,” said Nyanga.

Sibanye axed 1 514 em­ploy­ees at its Cooke op­er­a­tions last week for strik­ing amid il­le­gal min­ing that threat­ened the sus­tain­abil­ity of the gold and ura­nium op­er­a­tion.

The il­le­gal strike started af­ter Sibanye barred em­ploy­ees from tak­ing food un­der­ground to root out il­le­gal min­ing, also known as za­maza­mas.

Op­er­a­tions at Cooke mine had been sus­pended un­til Fri­day fol­low­ing safety con­cerns, James Well­sted said.

He added that Sibanye had axed the em­ploy­ees af­ter they snubbed a court in­ter­dict that de­clared the strike un­law­ful. They court gave the min­er­sun­til Fri­day to re­turn to work.

Sibanye was now in the process of of al­low­ing em­ploy­ees an op­por­tu­nity to ap­peal their dis­missals as the Na­tional Union of Minework­ers (NUM), the ma­jor­ity union at the op­er­a­tion threat­ened to fight the dis­missals.

Sibanye’s share price closed 2.0 per­cent lower at R15.82c.

PHOTO SUPPLIED

Af­ter fir­ing 1 514 em­ploy­ees at its Cooke op­er­a­tions for an il­le­gal strike, Sibanye Gold has an­nounced it had struck a 2-year wage agree­ment at Still­wa­ter Min­ing.

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