Sibanye-Stillwater to meet unions as strike looms at South Africa gold mines

Miners work deep underground at Sibanye Gold's Masimthembe shaft in Westonaria
Miners work deep underground at Sibanye Gold's Masimthembe shaft in Westonaria, South Africa, April 3, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

Feb 14 (Reuters) - South African mining company Sibanye-Stillwater on Monday said it will meet unions this week over a looming strike at its gold operations in the country after some workers backed a walkout.

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), which has been mediating between the two sides, cleared the unions to give strike notice a month ago after declaring a stalemate in wage talks. L8N2TU2UO

A Sibanye spokesperson said a meeting with unions would take place this week, but did not specify a date.

South Africa's major unions, 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.

NUM spokesperson Livhuwani Mammburu told Reuters on Monday that a Sunday meeting of NUM, AMCU, and UASA workers had voted to reject Sibanye's latest wage offer.

"They rejected it. The majority voted to embark on a strike," Mammburu said.

He added that the coalition of unions would only serve Sibanye with a 48-hour strike notice after meeting the company's management if the deadlock remains.

Sibanye's final offer, tabled on Feb.4, would increase underground workers' wages by 800 rand a month ($52.76) in each of the three years under negotiation. Other categories, including artisans and officials, would get 5% increases over the same period.

Mammburu said the unions' demand of 1,000 rand a month ($65.95) increases for each of the three years remained unchanged.

($1 = 15.1621 rand)

Reporting by Nelson Banya, editing by Jason Neely, Kirsten Donovan

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