Union Plans 'Go-Slow' at Sibanye's Beatrix Mine If No Pay Deal

  • Workers to take action by doing minimum required on shifts
  • Sibanye won't sign deal unless all four unions agree

The biggest labor group at Sibanye Gold Ltd. plans protest action if the company refuses to sign a pay deal agreed to by the union and other South African producers.

Employees will undertake a go-slow, in which workers do the minimum required on their shifts, if the company doesn’t sign the agreement, David Sipunzi, the general secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers, said in a phone interview Tuesday. The action would be at Sibanye’s Beatrix operations, where members gave feedback to leadership in a mass meeting Monday, he said.

The workers are giving the company four days before the go-slow begins and the union is talking to its members at other shafts, Sipunzi said.

The NUM, along with UASA and Solidarity unions, signed a wage agreement Friday with AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. and Harmony Gold Mining Co. The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, the second-largest labor group overall in the gold industry, refused to sign the deal. Sibanye, the top producer of South African gold, has required all four unions to sign the wage agreement for it to apply.

The NUM represents 43 percent of Sibanye’s workforce and the AMCU 42 percent.

Sipunzi said that NUM will otherwise seek legal opinion on its next steps at Sibanye. The AMCU plans to hold a meeting Oct. 11 to decide over strike action, spokesman Manzini Zungu said Friday.

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