South African court rules gold miners not allowed to strike

South African court rules gold miners not allowed to strike

South Africa's labour court ruled Monday that the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), which is leading the five-month strike in the platinum sector, are not allowed to take any industrial action in the gold sector.

The union had been seeking permission to strike at gold mining operations owned by AngloGold Ashanti (NYSE:AU), Harmony Gold (NYSE:HMY), and Sibanye (NYSE:SBGL). They said its members were forced to accept a deal signed last year by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), which represents most of the miners in the gold industry.

In January, the Labour Court had passed an interim order to prevent the AMCU from striking. The ruling is now permanent.

"Historically, the gold industry has always conducted wage negotiations at a centralized level and the process has always been inclusive and fair," a spokeswoman for the Chamber of Mines, which represents the three gold companies targeted by the union, said in a statement.

"The decision brings certainty about the binding nature of the 2013 wage agreement, which is in the best interest of employees, the industry, and our country," she added.

Platinum nightmare

Meanwhile, about 70,000 striking platinum miners are expected to decide on a wage offer from the world's top producers aimed at ending the country's longest and costliest strike in history.

The stoppage has dragged Africa's most advanced economy into contraction and has so far cost the companies almost $2.25 billion (24 billion rand) in lost revenue, according to an online tally run by the three major platinum firms.

South Africa is the continent’s largest gold and coal producer and the world’s biggest supplier of platinum and chrome.