Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) president Joseph Mathunjwa on Wednesday called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to intervene in the ongoing protracted strike at miner Sibanye-Stillwater’s gold operations.
He spoke at a media briefing that was called to clarify some of the issues at Sibanye since the start of the AMCU strike on November 21.
Mathunjwa said Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe has been “so complacent” after many attempts to get him to intervene in the strike, as had the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) and the Department of Labour.
AMCU was still awaiting a Labour Court ruling on the start of a sympathy strike in the platinum mining industry in support of the strike in the gold industry. The union is also continuously engaging with Sibanye under the auspices of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).
About 15 000 AMCU members have been on strike at Sibanye’s Beatrix operation, in the Free State, as well as its Kloof and Driefontein operations, near Carletonville, in Gauteng. The dispute has been around wages, with AMCU demanding a living wage of R12 500 for mineworkers.
While the National Union of Mineworkers, Solidarity and Uasa had signed a wage agreement with Sibanye, AMCU did not agree to the offered wage increases.
Sibanye subsequently applied to the Labour Court to have the wage agreement extended to AMCU’s members on the grounds that the NUM, Solidarity and Uasa represented the majority of employees at its gold operations.
AMCU, however, disputed the membership numbers. The Labour Court then ordered the CCMA to perform a membership verification.
Meanwhile, Mantashe earlier this month called on Police Minister Bheki Cele to intervene in community unrest and violence near Carletonville that was related to the strike.
An inter-Ministerial committee, include Mantashe, Cele and Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant, on Thursday met with AMCU and the NUM in Carletonville, as part of ongoing efforts by government to resolve the protracted strike.
The parties will meet again on Friday.