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NUM and AMCU agree on intensifying strike at Sibanye gold

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NUM and AMCU agree on intensifying strike at Sibanye gold

Press Statement, 05 April 2022

NUM and AMCU agree on intensifying strike at Sibanye gold

The Presidents and National Office-Bearers of the National Union of Mineworkers NUM) and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU)convened a meeting in Johannesburg yesterday (11 April 2022) to discuss the ongoing protected strike action at Sibanye-Stillwater’s gold operations.

This strike, which entered its second month last week, has been characterised by peace and discipline amongst the almost 30 000 AMCU and NUM members.  The workers are strong in their conviction, and they remain steadfast in their demand for a better life and livelihood while working in the belly of the earth.

Sibanye-Stillwater has over the past years earned the title of worst employer amongst workers, holding the record of the most mineworkers killed in 2021 and the highest levels of inequality in the mining industry.  Sibanye-Stillwater quite literally made a killing in 2020 and 2021, thanks to convincing the government that the mining of precious metals should be regarded as an essential service.  

Thanks to the commodity boom which coincided with the global pandemic, Sibanye could pay their CEO a salary of R13 336 000 and a bonus of almost double that at R13 304 000.  They paid R5,6 billion in dividends to shareholders. 

At the core of the dispute which led to the strike is a mere R300 per worker per month (which calculates to just over US$20 per month).  While Sibanye-Stillwater is offering R700, AMCU and the NUM demand R1000 (US$68) per month – for category 4 to 8 workers.  This is the same increase which was agreed upon with Sibanye-Stillwater’s main rival in gold, Harmony Gold.  For miners, artisans and officials, the Unions want 6% whilst Sibanye is offering 5%.

As AMCU and NUM, we will not spare any cent to relieve the workers from the shackles of Froneman.  We will not allow him to continue to exploit our people by using the minerals that belong to the people.  He is not the government, and he is not the owner of the minerals.  We find it strange and unsettling that our government is so quiet when this man is undermining the very core of the Freedom Charter, which proclaims that the minerals belong to the people.  We will never rest until this is addressed.

Yesterday’s meeting between the leadership of NUM and AMCU focused on an introduction to the newly elected NUM leadership following their National Congress held two (2) weeks ago as well as re-affirming the unity between the organisations when it comes to the labour dispute with Sibanye-Stillwater.  The spirits at the meeting were high and the relationship grew stronger through unity in action.

On a more practical level, the leadership of AMCU and the NUM agreed to intensify the strike action by means of additional protest marches to garner public support and increase pressure on Sibanye-Stillwater.  The planned protest action includes protest marches to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), the Union Buildings as well as the head offices of prominent media houses, including the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) for their business-biased reporting and lack of coverage of the strike and the campaign for a better life.

NUM and AMCU also agreed to put further pressure on Sibanye-Stillwater by giving notice of a secondary strike at Sibanye-Stillwater’s platinum operations – where wage talks are currently under way.  This will include the Rustenburg and Marikana operations and will involve close to 35 000 workers downing tools.  

Lastly, the NOBs of the two trade unions mandated NUM President Daniel Balepile and AMCU President Joseph Mathunjwa to request the urgent intervention of the State President, Honourable Cyril Ramaphosa, to resolve the current labour dispute at Sibanye-Stillwater.

The Unions agreed to meet more regularly and coordinate their efforts as a labour caucus to ensure maximum impact of the current strike.

For more information, please contact:

William Mabapa, NUM General Secretary William Mabapa, 082 880 4439

Jeff Mphahlele, AMCU General Secretary,071 688 6707

The National Union of Mineworkers
7 Rissik Street.
Cnr Frederick Johannesburg
Tel: 011 377 2111 Cell: 083 809 3257
Twitter: @Num_Media



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