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S.African unions get green light to strike at Sibanye-Stillwater gold mines

Kitco News

(Adds detail on 48 hours' notice for strike or lockout, back pay)

JOHANNESBURG, Jan 14 (Reuters) - South Africa's labour arbitration body has cleared unions to give Sibanye-Stillwater notice of a strike after the two sides failed to resolve a dispute over wages for gold mine workers, the company said on Friday.

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), which has been mediating between Sibanye and unions, declared the dispute unresolved as of Dec. 21 and issued a certificate on Monday allowing the unions to give strike notice and the company to implement a lockout.

Both parties have to give 48 hours' notice prior to any strike or lockout action.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), Solidarity and UASA have been negotiating as a united coalition for the first time.

Sibanye's current wage offer would mean an increase of 520 rand ($33.96) per month in the first year of the agreement, 610 rand per month in the second and 640 rand per month in the third year for certain categories of miners.

The coalition of unions has demanded a 1,000-rand per month wage hike for the lowest-paid worker in each of the three years.

Sibanye said it had paid workers for the months from July to November 2021 based on the current offer despite an agreement not having been reached. Sibanye will continue to engage with the unions to reach a "fair and reasonable" agreement, it said.

($1 = 15.3124 rand) (Reporting by Helen Reid and Nelson Banya, Editing by Promit Mukherjee, Kirsten Donovan)

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