In what was probably the least surprising development in the mining industry in 2018, the strike called by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) at Sibanye-Stillwater’s gold mines has resulted in violence and a death. With 32,200 employees at the company's three gold mines and related businesses preparing for the year-end, a time when bonuses are carefully nurtured to take home, it was bound to be a bad idea to call a wage strike. Not only that, but the three other unions at the gold mines had already signed a wage deal, but Amcu, with a 43% representation of workers, refused to participate in the agreement and has called its members out on a strike to demand a R1,000 a month wage increase compared to the R700 to R825 per month settled with the other unions. The timing of the strike has raised questions, particularly because it was called at a time when Sibanye’s all-share takeover of Lonmin was decided by the Competition Tribunal and approved. While Amcu pres...

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