MEMORANDUM OF DEMANDS TO SIBANYE-STILLWATER GOLD OPERATIONS
2022 SIBANYE-STILLWATER GOLD STRIKE
25 MARCH 2022
We, the members of the National Union of Mineworkers and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union have gathered here today, to express our anger and disgust against the horrible conduct and appalling attitude of this company called Sibanye-Stillwater. They don’t care.
Even though they have this motto printed on glossy posters all over the place, saying “Sibanye CARES”. But don’t be fooled – it is a lie. They don’t care.
This same Sibanye-Stillwater is the raw face of capitalism – it is the best example of a machine that is designed to exploit people and extract the minerals that belong to the people, with the maximum profit regardless of the cost to human life. They don’t care.
This same Sibanye-Stillwater holds the record of killing the most breadwinners in 2021. Last year Sibanye-Stillwater killed a total of eighteen (18) with this attitude of theirs. That is more than one breadwinner per month – in fact it is almost two breadwinners per month! They don’t care.
This same Sibanye-Stillwater in 2020 paid its CEO a salary of R13 336 000 and a bonus of almost double that at R13 304 000. The total paid to their CEO, Neal Froneman in 2020 was R57 973 000 which is almost double the amount he received in 2019, which was R31 917 000. They don’t care.
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, Sibanye-Stillwater made millions in 2020 and 2021. They made so much money, that they paid R5,6 billion in dividends to shareholders. If Sibanye-Stillwater had just cared enough to take a mere R600 million of these profits, they could have avoided this strike and paid us the fair increases we are asking for. But… they don’t care.
But the attitude of this Sibanye-Stillwater does not allow for it to care. It is the worst when it comes to caring about people. This attitude makes it blind to the need to have a good relationship with workers. This attitude is clear when it comes to anything to do with the lives and livelihoods of workers. They don’t care.
It is the combination of this appalling attitude and unethical conduct that collapsed the centralised bargaining process at the Minerals Council of South Africa. This was done intentionally so that the company can move out easily as it has been bargaining in bad faith dispassionate about the progressive demands of its workers who are our members. They simply don’t care.
Despite the fact that Sibanye-Stillwater has been scoring big financially both nationally and in global markets, it simply refuses to acknowledge the massive contribution by Gold Sector workers to its prosperity. The effort of these gold sector workers enabled the company to grow from sector to sector such as in platinum, uranium, palladium, and other commodities. But they don’t care.
It is the commitment of these workers that has enabled this company to assume the status of a leading global payer in gold, platinum, and other commodities. As workers alert to this reality, we too deserve better remuneration and better sustainable living conditions for ourselves and our families. But they don’t care.
The resistance to respond positively to our demands is not informed by lack of funds or poor performance. Instead, it is guided by the growing greed for profit and the never-ending thirst to demonise collective bargaining in South Africa which is a violation of our constitution and the Labour Relations Act. But … they don’t care.
Given this contribution to the global footprint of the company there demands of gold mineworkers is essentially substantially lower than what Sibanye-Stillwater’s competitors like Harmony Gold gave to their workers. Sibanye-Stillwater’s national and global footprint is much more superior to Harmony Gold and Goldfields comparatively speaking. Yet both Harmony Gold and Goldfields offered their workers a reasonable settlement and have not expanded their scope to other commodities. But Sibanye-Stillwater doesn’t care.
It is a grave indictment to the shareholders of Sibanye-Stillwater to allow their CEO, Neal Froneman to conduct himself in a manner that grossly undermines the esteemed appreciation given to them. It is also irrational that other gold players can offer reasonable pay which Sibanye claims not to afford. The fact is that they don’t care.
It is this same CEO, Neal Froneman, who wants to be the darling of White Monopoly Capital and likes to brag to the media that he is not scared of us – that he is not scared of strikes and that he will not pay workers what they ask. It is this same CEO, Neal Froneman, who wants to tell government what to do, who has the nerve to call our country a failed state.
They simply don’t care.
We call on the Shareholders to intervene in appreciation of the sweat that made massive positive spinoffs possible. The black mineworkers equally deserve similar appreciation like any other stakeholder in this company.
It is simply not sustainable to have such a don’t-care attitude when it comes to workers. If you want to continue to make billions from the sweat of our people, taking out the minerals that belong to our people, the very least you must do is recognise them for their hard work. If you don’t, it will not last.
We hope this message reaches the ears of shareholders and they shall intervene progressively to protect their brand which is being tarnished by the don’t-care attitude of Sibanye-Stillwater.
Even though you, management of Sibanye-Stillwater are in possession of our demands, we repeat them here for ease of reference:
- We demand a transport allowance of R1 500 per month and company transport for Burnstone workers.
- We demand a meal interval allowance and the immediate termination of meal packs.
- We demand an underground allowance of 10%.
- We demand that the current and outdated living-out allowance must be converted into a housing allowance with an adjustment of R500 per year for the term of the agreement.
- We demand that the roll-ups must be put into a process with a clear timeframe and terms of reference.
- We demand that the remuneration of Burnstone workers be harmonised with all other operations of Sibanye-Stillwater.
- We demand the harmonisation of living-out allowances and home-ownership allowances across operations.
- Service Increment:
- We demand a 2% increase in service increment, and we demand that officials are also included in service increments.
- Compliance with Core Code:
- We demand immediate implementation of the Core Code without the need for further bilateral meetings.
- Retirement Age:
- We demand that the retirement age of 63 be implemented across all job categories without favouritism, and we demand that early retirement options be open to all workers.
- Medical Aid Scheme Brokers:
- We demand that Sibanye-Stillwater stops imposing a single broker on workers, and that all brokers are allowed to opportunity to service their members.
- We demand that GRP must be optional and not compulsory and those who prefer COM must be allowed to take it or revert to it. This must also be a standalone matter and not be clustered together with housing and service increment.
- We also demand that the company must demonstrate the size of the percentage they are contributing towards those workers currently in GRP and company housing rental.
- We demand maternity leave of six (6) months in a cycle of three (3) years.
- We demand paternity leave of ten (10) days in a cycle of three (3) years.
- Medical Aid Contributions:
- We demand a split of 70/30 in contributions for category 4 to 8 workers and lower-level officials.
- Long Service Awards:
- We demand that the issue of long service awards be put into a process with clear timeframes and terms of reference.
- Severance Pay:
- We demand an increase in severance pay from R50 000 to R65 000, building up as R5000 per year for every year in the term of the agreement.
- Medical Incapacity:
- We demand an increase in compensation for medical incapacity from R50 000 to R65 000, building up as R5000 per year for every year in the term of the agreement.
- Funeral Benefit:
- We demand an increase in the funeral benefit to the following levels:
- Principal member: R50 000.00
- Spouse: R50 000.00
- Children 14 years and above: R50 000.00
- Children 6-13: R35 000.00
- Children younger than 6 and/or stillborn babies: R25 000.00
- We demand an increase in the funeral benefit to the following levels:
- Duration of Agreement:
- If Sibanye-Stillwater refuses to accede to our demands, we will no longer entertain a three-year agreement.
- Process Issues:
- We have given our demands with regards to Employee Share Ownership Plans (ESOPs) and profit share, including that a vesting period of 15 years be wound up in 2022 and not 2025 as per the Trust Deeds. This will help to address the discrepancy on tracing unpaid beneficiaries. We also demand that Sibanye-Stillwater must establish its own independent empowerment scheme in order for the current workforce to be covered by the scheme.
- We demand to increase the current provident fund contribution by 5%, and that all AMCU members be transferred from the current company retirement scheme to their own fund, IGULA.
- We demanded a five-day workweek.
- For the sake of women in mining, we demanded child-care facilities to be provided by Sibanye-Stillwater.
- For our women in mining, we demanded for underground ablution facilities to be separated and security measures to be introduced.
- For our women in mining, we demanded that women must be provided with their own, specially designed PPE.
- We demanded a review of policies, including Matshediso Programme, screening policy, Home Adaptation Policy and the Replacement Policy.
- We demand an increase of R1000 per month in the wages of category 4-8 surface and underground workers and 6% for miners, artisans and officials for every year of the duration of the agreement.
We have marched here today to hand over this memorandum to Sibanye-Stillwater. We urge you to reconsider our demands and re-apply your minds to invest in the sound industrial relations which will make your operations successful and sustainable. We ask you to care! Care for our members who are your employees! Care for the people who live in these mining communities. Care for the people of South Africa who help you to become richer and richer. Show that you care!
We remain united as AMCU and NUM, and we will continue fighting for the rights of our members, your employees.
RECEIPT OF MEMORANDUM:
Hereby, I _________________________________ (INSERT NAME AND SURNAME), employed as __________________________________ (INSERT JOB TITLE) at Sibanye-Stillwater declare that I have received this memorandum from the leadership of AMCU and NUM. I undertake to bring the contents of this memorandum under the attention of the Board of Directors as well as the management of Sibanye-Stillwater.
Signed on this the 25th day of March, 2022 at Sibanye-Stillwater, Libanon Business Park, Westonaria.