Trade union AMCU has ended its five-month long strike after reaching an agreement with Sibanye-Stillwater. This comes following a meeting between the union and the mining company.At a joint briefing yesterday, Head of Investor Relations at Sibanye James Wellsted said that workers would return to their posts after the Easter holidays. The union had embarked on the strike in November 2018 over a gold wage agreement Sibanye had reached with other unions. AMCU opposed the three-year wage agreement with the National Union of Metalworkers, Solidarity and UASA, which allows for salaries to increase by R650 for the first year, R700 for the second year and R825 for the third year. AMCU demanded a minimum wage increase of R12 500, with a R1 000 increase for three years, Fin24 previously reported. But the parties on Wednesday confirmed that AMCU has committed to signing the three-year wage agreement, which applies from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2021.
In addition, Sibanye-Stillwater has agreed to an ex gratia payment of R4 000 to all employees at its gold operations in the form of cash or a voucher. Sibanye will also offer a cash advance of R5 000 upon the request of employees which is repayable over a 12-month period. Sibanye will also assist with debt consolidation and counselling, provide transport to employees to return to work and waive rights to reclaim costs incurred during the strike.Any employees dismissed for strike related misconduct will be subject to normal disciplinary proceedings, the statement read. AMCU will also commit to conclude a peace pact within 30 days, abide by previous court decisions that no further appeals would be pursued, among other things. The parties have resolved to a facilitated “post-strike conflict” relationship building programme. “We are pleased that the extended strike at our gold operations has ended,” Sibanye CEO Neal Froneman said. “We are encouraged by AMCU’s commitment to peace and safety. We are hopeful that the relationship can now be rebuilt in a constructive manner, for the future benefit of all stakeholders,” he added. Addressing workers at Sibanye-Stillwater, AMCU President Joseph Mathunjwa thanked all members who participated in the strike against “white monopoly capital”. He told workers that “money is the root of all evil”. He said that government would protect foreign direct investment at the expense of people’s lives, and referred to the Marikana Massacre in August 2012 as an example.