Sibanye Gold Starts Beatrix Operations After Union Agreement

Sibanye Gold Ltd. resumed operations at its Beatrix mine after unions agreed to maintain peace and cooperate with an investigation into violence that broke out between rival labor groups.

Operations started Monday at the Beatrix North and South shafts, shut after nine employees were injured on Feb. 5 before a meeting planned by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, Johannesburg-based Sibanye said in a statement.

“Our members were back last night,” Livhuwani Mammburu, a spokesman for the National Union of Mineworkers, said by phone. “A memo of understanding was signed.”

NUM members on buses not going to the meeting were assaulted, Teboho Mohale, branch secretary for the union at Beatrix, said by phone. AMCU members were denied access to worker hostels, union president Joseph Mathunjwa said Monday. Both the AMCU and the NUM have agreed to participate in an investigation by Sibanye into the incidents and take disciplinary action against those involved, the company said.

“I commend the unions’ leadership on the mature and cooperative approach that they adopted during a period of high emotion,” Chief Executive Officer Neal Froneman said in the statement.

The AMCU, which usurped the NUM as the biggest representative of workers on South Africa’s platinum belt, has said its membership has surpassed 30 percent of Sibanye’s workforce. That threshold for minority recognition gives the AMCU the right to organize at the nation’s biggest gold producer.

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