8 April 2019
UNION POINTS OUT THAT VERIFICATION OUTCOME IS STILL NOT FINALISED
SUMMARY: The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) condemns Sibanye-Stillwater (Sibanye) for prematurely issuing a media statement claiming that a flawed verification process has given them the right to declare AMCU’s strike unprotected. The Union criticises Sibanye for not allowing the dispute resolution process to be completed after it raised significant concerns with the findings of the members verification process undertaken by a provider unilaterally appointed by Sibanye. AMCU issues a brief statement in response to the Sibanye statement, but promises to issue a more comprehensive statement once the dispute meeting of tomorrow is finalised.
AMCU late today learned with shock and disappointment that Sibanye has made the highly unethical move to announce the flawed findings of a process, before such findings have been finalised.
In a statement issued by the Stock Exchange News Service (SENS) earlier today, Sibanye CEO Neal Froneman is quoted as saying that the flawed results “will now form the basis to implement the extension of the wage agreement in terms of Section 23(1)(d) of the Labour Relations Act”.
AMCU condemns in the strongest terms the unethical behaviour of Sibanye by making such statements, while they are fully aware of the serious and significant issues raised by AMCU regarding the process from the start. AMCU was not properly involved in the process and, despite various concerns being raised, the flawed results were announced by Tokiso on Saturday afternoon.
The terms of reference imposed on AMCU by the provider unilaterally appointed and paid by Sibanye includes a dispute resolution clause. This clause prescribes that any dispute regarding to the process must be raised within 24 hours. AMCU honoured this prescription and submitted its dispute by the deadline on Sunday. The same clause clearly states that the results only become “final and binding on all parties” once the dispute resolution process has been completed. The dispute resolution meeting is scheduled to take place tomorrow at 10:00.
While we believe that it is highly unethical of Sibanye to make statements to the media at this premature time, we have been contacted by several media houses to present our version of events. We therefore have no other choice than to make some comments to avoid one-sided reporting and the wrong perception being created to the public. We will, however, for ethical reasons, avoid publishing detailed comments on the various flaws identified until the process is duly finalised.
In a fourteen-page dispute letter AMCU outlined the various flaws in the process relating to various aspects including the procurement of the provider, the unilateral brief to the provider and the superficial consultative process that followed. More critically though, AMCU raised serious concerns about the methodology employed by Tokiso, which was clearly designed to serve the needs of its client, Sibanye.
The dispute filed by AMCU also criticised Tokiso for not being fair, transparent and independent. The process was not fair, because it was intentionally biased to suit the needs of one party (Sibanye). The process was not transparent, as there were covert meetings and interactions with one party (Sibanye). Key pieces of information were intentionally omitted from the terms of reference and from the report, and AMCU was rendered unable to appoint observers to verify the fairness of the process.
The process was not independent, because one party (Sibanye) dictated how the process was designed and implemented. The fact that one party procured and paid for the process, also poses inherent challenges to any claims of independence.
AMCU also disputes that the verification process complied with the terms of reference, and it points out various instances in its fourteen-page letter.
AMCU will attend the dispute meeting tomorrow and issue a further statement with greater detail after the outcome has been announced.
This is another example of the covert tactics of Sibanye to undermine the hard-earned constitutional right of AMCU members to protest for better conditions of employment.