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HARARE – South Africa’s Sibanye-Stillwater said on Thursday it had stopped operations at its gold mines after two major unions began a strike over wages.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) and United Association of South Africa (UASA) all voted for a strike, while the Solidarity union, which was part of the labour coalition during wage negotiations, broke ranks and accepted Sibanye’s pay offer. 

“We have halted operations at all the mines and all employees except for priority services have been requested to not come to work for the duration of the strike/lockout,” Sibanye spokesperson James Wellsted told Reuters in an email.

He said no workers had reported for work on Thursday morning.
After NUM and AMCU, the country’s two biggest mineworker unions, served Sibanye with a strike notice in the week, the company proceeded to issue a lock-out notice to bar all workers from accessing the work place.

A lock-out notice is a form of industrial action by employers to bar workers from the workplace during a dispute.

On Wednesday, Solidarity said it would take Sibanye to court over the lock-out notice, which included Solidarity members, who had accepted the company’s final offer of a 5% annual pay increase. 

The unions which voted in favour of a strike are demanding a pay increase of R1 000 rand ($66.47) per month over the next three years.

Sibanye has said it will not be revising its final offer as it cannot sustain bigger wage increases. Read full story

The company produced 892 087 oz of gold from its South African operations in 2021, up from 809 877 oz the previous year, excluding output from DRDGold, in which Sibanye has a 50.1% shareholding. 

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