March 20, 2019 / 2:44 PM / 3 months ago

S.African court rules extension of wage agreement to AMCU valid and lawful

JOHANNESBURG, March 20 (Reuters) - South Africa’s labour court ruled on Wednesday that the extension of a wage agreement to cover all gold unions and non-unionised employees of mining group Sibanye-Stillwater is valid and lawful, the miner said.

Sibanye had in December extended the agreement, reached the previous month with the National Union of Mineworkers, UASA and Solidarity, to all employees at its South African gold operations, including members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU).

AMCU had however rejected the extension as unscrupulous and said it would remain on strike, disputing the miner’s argument that the action was illegal because of the extension.

AMCU has been on strike at Sibanye-Stillwater’s gold operations since mid November in a pay dispute.

In February it wanted to extend the strike to at least 11 other mines, including the gold and platinum operations of Anglo American, and operations of Harmony Gold and Lonmin.

But the labour court rejected AMCU’s request to hold an industry-wide strike.

“We are extremely pleased with the ruling provided by the Labour Court,” Sibanye-Stillwater Chief Executive Neal Froneman said in a statement.

“It provides a clear path forward to resolving the ongoing strike in a manner which does not compromise our values or undermine our other stakeholders, who have also been negatively impacted by the AMCU strike action,” Froneman added.

Froneman urged AMCU to respect the ruling and allow due processes to be followed.

AMCU was not immediately available for comment. (Reporting by Nqobile Dludla Editing by David Holmes)

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