Sibanye-Stillwater approves inflation-linked wage agreements at its US mine

But union protest looms locally over rejected wage offers.
Mine security officials walk underground at one of Sibanye’s gold mines. Image: Mike Hutchings/Reuters

Precious metals producer Sibanye-Stillwater has confirmed an inflation-linked wage agreement for workers at its East Boulder mine in Montana in the United States, effective from February 16 until July 31, 2024.

According to the mining company, the contract covers a broad range of terms including average annual wage increases of 2.5% in 2022, and 3% each in 2023 and 2024.

“In addition to the base increase in 2022, an increase to benefits and incentive [sic] has been agreed, which will result in an effective average increase of 5.4% for 2022 if all safety and quality deliverables are fully met,” the group said in a trading statement.

“This settlement amounts to an annual average increase of 3.8% per year for the next three years, which compares favourably with US inflation rates.”

Read: Amplats to sell stake in two mines to rival Sibanye

Neal Froneman, CEO of Sibanye-Stillwater, said: “We are very pleased with the constructive engagement process with the United Steelworkers, which has resulted in a sustainable collective bargaining agreement that takes into account the impact of global inflationary cost pressures on both employees and the East Boulder operation, ensuring an outcome which is favourable for the company, its employees and all stakeholders.”

Meanwhile, members of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) who work at Sibanye’s South African gold operations have voted to strike over the company’s wage offer until their demands are met.

The members rejected Sibanye’s offer of a R700 wage increase in each of the next three years and are demanding R1 000 for the same period.

In the rejected proposal, workers would have received increases of 5% for each of the three years. According to the South African Reserve Bank inflation is forecast to average 4.9% in 2022, 4.5% in 2023 and 4.5% in 2024.

The strike has not occurred yet as the unions are still engaged in negotiations with the company.

 NUM spokesperson Livhuwani Mammburu speaks to Fifi Peters about the possible strike action: 

Palesa Mofokeng is a Moneyweb intern.

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