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