AMCU gives strike notice to Sibanye-Stillwater
14 January 2019
Just a few hours ago, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) has given notice of its intention to embark on secondary strike action at Sibanye-Stillwater’s platinum operations around Rustenburg. The secondary strike will be in support of the current strike at Sibanye-Stillwater’s gold operations on the West-Rand and in the Free State.
Earlier today, AMCU sent an official notice to Sibanye-Stillwater, indicating that it will be embarking on secondary strike action from 22 January 2019. This notice relates to all the platinum operations of Sibanye-Stillwater, and it is in support of the strike at the gold operations which commenced on 22 November 2019.
In terms of section 66 of the Labour Relations Act (LRA), the members of a trade union may embark on protected strike action “in support of a strike by other employees against their employer”, by giving seven (7) days’ notice of such strike action commencing.
This secondary strike will mean that around 12 500 AMCU members employed at Sibanye-Stillwater’s platinum operations will join their approximately 15 000 comrades from the same company’s gold operations. It will mark one of the biggest examples of mass rolling strike action across different mineral commodities by a single union in South African history.
This comes just after on Friday (10 January 2019) Sibanye-Stillwater CEO Neal Froneman boasted in Business Day about the fact that his income from platinum operations are making him immune from the strike in gold. He added insult to injury by stating that the strike did not hurt him at all, and that actually he was doing better due to the infamous “no-work-no-pay” rule applying to striking workers. This move was very short-sighted from a strategic point of view ,and it has only served as further agitation of the employees he has exploited over time.
Our members in the platinum sector have been persuaded by Froneman’s unrepentant statements. They have concluded that their hard work is being abused to deny their fellow comrades economic emancipation, a fair living wage and progressive conditions of employment. They will now show their solidarity through sympathy in action. We will show Monopoly Capital the true meaning the word “solidarity”.
The strike action comes after the wage negotiations that began on 11 July 2018. Workers are demanding a R1,000 increase per year while the companies are offering R650 for the first year, R700 for second year and R825 for the third year.
AMCU will also be striking for other conditions of employment.
“Today you (members) are giving us a mandate to give Sibanye-Stillwater 48 hours before we go on strike. You are not going to lose anything by going on strike because you have nothing. South Africa’s natural resources are for us Africans. This exploitation must come to an end. Let us show the capitalist that we can unite as Africans. The strike will commence on 21 November 2018. We have nothing more to say to Sibanye-Stillwater. If they wish to meet with us with a view of resolving the dispute, we shall make ourselves available during the notice period,” said President Mathunjwa.