All Sintobo* wants to do is to go back to work so he can finish building his house in the Eastern Cape, and pay for medication for his sickly son. Sintobo and his comrades are not on strike, but since November 21 they have not been able to work at the Beatrix mine in the Free State, owned by Sibanye-Stillwater. Sintobo is a member of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), which on November 15 signed a three-year wage deal with the company. Two other unions, Uasa and Solidarity, have accepted the deal. The three together represent 49% of the workforce at Sibanye’s gold operations. The Association of Mineworkers & Construction Union (Amcu), which speaks for 43% of the 32,200-strong gold workforce, rejected the R700 a month increase for the first two years of the deal, which will be followed by an R825 increment in the third year. The employees will also receive an additional R50 a month, R75 a month and R100 a month on the R2,150 monthly living-out allowance. These adjustments will ...

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