Sibanye Gold CEO Neal Froneman. Picture: MARTIN RHODES
Sibanye Gold CEO Neal Froneman. Picture: MARTIN RHODES

Sibanye-Stillwater said on Wednesday that the five-month strike at its gold mines has ended.

Sibanye, the largest producer of SA gold, has run up losses up about R1.5bn in the wage strike called by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) on November 21.

The strike has been marred by violence and intimidation, with mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe saying nine people have been killed and more than 60 houses burnt in the areas around Carletonville where Sibanye has two of its three gold mines.

Amcu signed the agreement the other three unions signed in November, as well as accepting a R4,000 cash payment for each of its 14,000 striking members, and a soft R5,000 loan to be repaid over 12 months.

“We are pleased the extended strike at our gold operations has ended, without undermining other stakeholders or compromising their rights,” said Sibanye CEO Neal Froneman.

Froneman has not budged from the agreement struck with three other unions at its gold mines in November, arguing that Sibanye was prevented from doing so in terms of the agreement; that it would reflect bad faith for the other unions; and that it would weaken the company’s position going into platinum-sector wage talks in June with Amcu and other unions.

Sibanye will provide transport to bring Amcu members back to the mines from their homes in rural areas.

“We are encouraged by Amcu’s commitment to peace and safety. We are hopeful that the relationship can now be rebuilt in a constructive manner, for the future benefit of all stakeholders,” Froneman said.

“Both parties have acknowledged that it is in their interest to re-base and develop a constructive relationship going forward. The parties agree that, in acknowledgement of the need for a constructive working relationship, they will foster a safe and sustainable business that creates value for all stakeholders.” 

Management and Amcu met at Sibanye’s offices in Libanon near Westonaria, to sign the agreement to end the strike.

“As a result of the agreement, the Amcu strike is no longer protected and all employees will been notified to report for work as per a build-up schedule that will be communicated internally in due course,” Sibanye said.

As part of the agreement, management and Amcu leadership would engage in a “facilitated, post-strike relationship building programme”.