The Labour Appeal Court has dismissed Sibanye Stillwater’s application to declare Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union’s (Amcu) three-month old strike at its gold operations illegal, paving the way for the strike to drag on longer.
However, both parties still await the outcome of the union’s Labour Appeal Court bid to increase the scope of the membership verification process, which is meant to finally decide which union has the majority at Sibanye between Amcu and National Union of Mineworkers.
Amcu President Joseph Mathunjwa said that the union’s next step was to wait for the company to approach them.
“The strike is continuing despite their attempt to declare it illegal and the employer must just approach us to open negotiations,” he said.
James Wellsted, spokesperson of Sibanye, said the company was willing to engage but not about the wage offer, which was the union’s main bone of contention.
“That offer is final and will not be increased. We are happy to engage but not about the wage increase. We negotiated for almost five months and we would be making a mockery of that process and the other three unions that signed that offer,” Wellsted said.
He said that while the strike was having an impact on the mine’s production, it was having a worse effect on the workers and also mining communities.
“The strike is having a bigger impact on the workers who have lost almost R40 000 each by now and also our suppliers as well as the communities,” he said.
Sibanye signed a wage deal that offered increases of R700 per month in the first and second years, and R825 per month in the third year to some categories of employees, while Amcu wants R1000 annual hike over three years.