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The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) is finding itself increasingly on the back foot and with fewer options to save face in extracting itself from an extremely damaging protracted strike at Sibanye-Stillwater’s gold mines. Since calling for the wage strike on November 21, calling some 14,000 of its members to stop work at three large gold mines, Amcu has suffered one set back after another in court. Behind the scenes there are talks with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) that have come to naught. Overtures to politicians, such as mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe and President Cyril Ramaphosa, by Amcu have met with limited response. There is nothing they can do to pressure Sibanye to give in to Amcu’s demand for a R1,000 a month wage increase. For Sibanye to capitulate to Amcu’s demand now ahead of wage talks in the platinum sector is unthinkable. Besides, it would put the company in a very difficult position with its t...

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