JOHANNESBURG – The president of South Africa’s Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) said on Friday that the union’s Sibanye-Stillwater members remain on strike, disputing the miner’s argument the action is now illegal.
Joseph Mathunjwa was speaking at a media conference organised to respond to Sibanye’s decision to extend a wage agreement in place with a number of other unions to AMCU members – a move it said meant the AMCU strike was no longer protected.
“As far as we are concerned, we are still on strike,” Mathunjwa said, adding the union has seen no documentation suggesting the strike is now illegal.
“We… advise our members not to report to work on Saturday as they are still in a protected strike until their demands have been met by the employer.”
A Sibanye spokesman said that according to South African labour laws, the strike is now unprotected and that employees who did not turn up to work would be subject to internal disciplinary procedures.
“[AMCU’s] approach is disingenuous as it may result in employees who do not report for work facing disciplinary action,” the spokesman said.
The firm’s shares were up 3.54 percent to 10.52 rand at 0955 GMT.
The AMCU, which represents around 43 percent of Sibanye’s gold workforce in South Africa, called the strike in mid-November after discussions over the wage agreement with Sibanye broke down.
The union wants to secure what it describes as a living wage for its members, of 12,500 rands ($869.02).
($1 = 14.3840 rand)