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Gold miners’ strike continues in South Africa over stalemate in wage talks

By Bisola Adeyemo

The strike in the gold sector of South Africa’s mining continues without an agreement between the mining company, Sibanye Stillwater and two major labor unions.

Around 30,000 miners affiliated with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) downed tools last week after Sibanye failed to grant them a salary increment of 1,000 rand (about 66 U.S. dollars) per year for three years. The company offered 700 rand per year for those three years.

According to reports, Tuesday, NUM President Joseph Montisetse said that parties have not been able to find each other since the industrial action was declared. He said Sibanye made 28 billion rand in profits in 2020/2021 due to the commodity boom but it was refusing to meet their justified wage demands. Other mining companies in the sector which made fewer profits than Sibanye had agreed to their wage demands.

Montisetse accused Sibanye of negotiating in bad faith, saying CEO Neal Froneman was instructing representatives not to “move from their initial offer.”

Sibanye said two other unions which represent minority workers have since accepted their revised wage offer.

“We are hopeful that both AMCU and the NUM will soon follow suit to avoid further consequences for employees and other stakeholders from strike action,” Froneman said.

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