Amcu general secretary Joseph Mathunjwa. Picture: REUTERS
Amcu general secretary Joseph Mathunjwa. Picture: REUTERS

This week the Association of Mineworkers & Construction Union (Amcu) flexed its muscle and pulled its gold and platinum sector members into a sympathy strike demonstration against Sibanye-Stillwater.

Amcu wants an increase of R1,000 a month for its members at Sibanye’s three gold mines. This would take the basic pay to R11,000 a month by June 2021, from the current R7,800.

Sibanye has offered to increase wages by R700 a month for the first two years and R825 a month in the third year. It has also offered additions to its living-out allowance, which it says will take the guaranteed pay of entry-level employees to R14,900 a month by June 2021.

"Variable pay", which includes overtime, would take this to more than R16,500 a month by June 2021.

But if Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa doesn’t get his way, he will pull Amcu members on the platinum belt into a sympathy strike.

Should this happen, the platinum belt would grind to a standstill as Amcu is the majority union at Lonmin, Anglo American Platinum and Impala. Not only would production of platinum group metals collapse, but 100,000 workers would again have to forfeit salaries. Workers, still trying to recover from the strike of 2014, can’t afford this. Jobs-starved SA cannot afford this.