PRECIOUS METALS

SSW tables conditional wage settlement offer

Sibanye-Stillwater says its wage bill at its South Africa gold operations would increase to R1.4 billion by July 1, 2023, under an amended conditional settlement offer tabled last week.

Staff reporter
 Sibanye-Stillwater’s Driefontein gold operations in South Africa

Sibanye-Stillwater’s Driefontein gold operations in South Africa

It's set to meet again with four unions - the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, National Union of Mineworkers, Solidarity and UASA - for more wage talks on Wednesday.

In an unprecedented move, the four unions had united in September to call on the miner to meet their wage demands or benchmark its offer on a deal struck with Harmony Gold Mining in September. 

Sibanye-Stillwater said its amended conditional settlement offer took into account the cost of living had increased and was above the average inflation rate of 3.6% over the past year but considered the sustainability of its SA gold operations.

Under the offer, miners, artisans and officials would receive an increase of 4.5% in year 1, 4.9% in year 2 and 4.9% in year 3.

Category 4-8 employees would receive an increase of R570 in year 1, R640 in year 2 and R670 in year 3, which included a R40 increase in the Living Out Allowance each year, the company said.

Executive VP SA gold operations Richard Cox said the company had stabilised and significantly extended the lives of the former Gold Fields operations acquired in 2013 but it had faced significant cost pressures and "severe disruptions" from the five-month strike which ended in April 2019, then COVID-19.

"In making the conditional offer, we have carefully considered what our gold operations can afford," he said.

The talks are being held under the auspices of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.

UASA reaches settlement with Implats

Separately, the UASA said it had reached agreement with Impala Platinum, almost eight years since its members were unable to go to work due to "violence and intimidation" during strike action in 2014.

The union said it had signed a settlement agreement with the miner in terms of workers' unlawfully deducted accumulated leave in the wake of the AMCU strike action.

It said the Labour Court had ruled in UASA's favour in January 2020 but Implats had appealed the judgement.

"UASA is most pleased that a positive outcome in the form of the settlement agreement has been yielded to our members after so many years," spokesperson Abigail Moyo said last week.

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