Sibanye faces South African gold strike over wage dispute

Sibanye Gold Ltd., which received a strike notice from South Africa’s Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, said it won’t increase its current wage offer that was signed off on by other labor groups last week.

“AMCU has decided to go on strike,” the union said Sunday on its Twitter feed. Sibanye will be given 48 hours to come back with a better offer, it said. The company said Monday it received a notice indicating the action will start from the evening shift on Nov. 21.We will honor this agreement and have made a commitment that we will not increase the offer – CEO Neal Froneman

AMCU received permission to strike at Sibanye in September after talks deadlocked. On Nov. 14, the gold mining company signed three-year wage agreements with a trio of other South African unions, ending months of negotiations that started in July.

“The agreement we reached with the other unions is fair and final and considers the current challenges facing our gold operations,” Sibanye Chief Executive Officer Neal Froneman said in the statement.

The deal raised the basic wage for most categories of surface and underground employees by 700 rand ($50.03) a month in each of the first two years and by 825 rand in the third, while the housing allowance and medical benefits were also increased.

The company employs about 32,200 people at its gold operations in South Africa, with AMCU accounting for 43 percent of the workers, the producer said.

Sibanye rose 0.7% on Monday, paring this year’s decline to 39 percent.

(By Paul Burkhardt)