Sibanye-Stillwater’s handling of its five-month gold strike by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) was more than just about its gold mines and set the tone for its proposed takeover of the world’s third-largest platinum miner. The five-month strike, the second-longest by Amcu, coming in a few days short of its 2014 strike in the platinum sector, was marked by the absolute intransigence of Sibanye’s management to yield to the union. Not only was Sibanye bound by agreements with three other unions with which it had signed a wage deal, but there was a much more important principle at stake in dealing with Amcu as the company headed into platinum sector wage talks and is in the process of incorporating Lonmin.By proving its management resolve in the gold sector wage talks, which cost Sibanye about R2bn, it set the tone for its relationship with Amcu in the platinum sector where Sibanye is a relative newcomer.Whether Amcu will again call its members out on a prot...

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