South Africa's Sibanye Stillwater receives strike notice from two unions

A sign board is seen near the Sibanye gold mine in Westonaria, west of Johannesburg, April 6, 2016. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo

March 8 (Reuters) - South Africa's Sibanye Stillwater Ltd has received a notice of strike at its local gold mining operations from two unions starting on March 9, the company said on Tuesday.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) voted for a strike last week after the Solidarity union split away to accept Sibanye's final offer of a 5% annual pay increase.

A smaller union, the United Association of South Africa (UASA) had also backed a strike, but Sibanye said it received a strike notice from NUM and AMCU only.

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NUM and AMCU, the two biggest mine unions in South Africa, have demanded a pay increase of 1,000 rand ($65.08) per month over the next three years, similar to the amount Sibanye's rival Harmony Gold Ltd (HARJ.J) agreed to pay workers last year.

Sibanye's chief executive Neal Froneman said the company would not be revising its final offer as it could not sustain higher wage increases.

"There are no winners in a strike," Froneman said in a statement on Tuesday.

"We urge employees to carefully consider the consequences of strike action on them personally and collectively. Strike action will only serve to jeopardise the sustainability of our gold operations and, ultimately, their futures."

Costs at Sibanye's South African gold operations rose by 7% in 2021, driven by above-inflation increases in the cost of electricity and some consumables. read more

Sibanye said it was not immediately clear how many of the 31,000 workers employed at its gold operations would go on strike.

Without giving details, the company said it had in place plans to contain the impact of a strike at a time when the gold price is flirting with multi-month peaks.

"The likely impact is that operations will be suspended for the duration of a strike and we have contingency plans to try and safeguard employees, communities and company property while minimising the financial impact on the company," a spokesperson said.

($1 = 15.3652 rand)

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Reporting by Nelson Banya Editing by Promit Mukherjee, Kirsten Donovan

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