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South African unions end three-month strike in the gold sector

15 June, 2022The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) jointly signed a collective agreement at Sibanye Stillwater on 11 June. The agreement comes after a three-month strike and concludes negotiations in the gold sector that began last year.

The collective agreement is for three years, and miners and artisans as well as officials will get an increase of 5 per cent or R1000 (US$62) to the standard rate of monthly pay in the first year, 5.5 per cent or R900 (US$56) in the second year, and 5 per cent or R750 (US$47) in the third year. Further, the workers will be given a once-off hardship allowance of R3000 (US$187).

At a Congress of South African Trade Unions organized May Day rally in Rustenburg the striking workers forced President Cyril Ramaphosa off the stage before finishing his speech demanding that he intervenes to resolve the wage dispute. The workers sang during the speech making it hard for others to hear the address.

The NUM, which is affiliated to IndustriALL Global Union, commented that it was unfortunate that workers “disrupted their own event” while also recognizing that the rally was “a workers’ platform” to express their demands. This led to the convening of meetings between the strikers and the department of mineral resources and energy.
The unions also argued that if Sibanye Stillwater could pay the chief executive officer, Neal Froneman, R300 million per annum ($18.67 million), the mining company could afford to pay the workers’ demands.
William Mabapa, NUM, general secretary says:

“The 2022 wage negotiations were very tough and took more than a year to be concluded - the longest wage negotiations in the history of the NUM. The pressure that the unions exerted on Sibanye Stillwater through the rolling mass actions and the strike to force the company to sign the wage agreement has yielded good results. The union wishes to express sincere gratitude to its members at Sibanye-Stillwater on a successful strike that ran concurrently with negotiations until they gave us the mandate to sign this wage agreement.”

“The unity of the workers during strikes and negotiations is key to building workers power in the gold mines. We also join the workers in their joy after winning in the negotiations and commend the NUM for working in solidarity with AMCU,”

says Glen Mpufane, IndustriALL director for mining.