Today's Labour News

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Sibanye StillwaterBusiness Times reports that Sibanye-Stillwater's plans to take over Lonmin and become the world's largest platinum producer will not be derailed by trade unions, CEO Neal Froneman said last week.  

Though the deal will give his company more exposure to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), Froneman is not shying away.  "We've just shown them that in two days we can raise R4bn, which gives us R10bn on the balance sheet.  It's a little bit of a message to the unions as well that we can access money under the right conditions," he said.  Sibanye tapped shareholders for nearly R2bn and got almost as much from a forward gold sale arrangement with Citibank.  Amcu has been on strike at Sibanye's gold operations for almost five months, casting a shadow over the upcoming wage negotiations in the platinum sector, where it is the dominant union.  In 2014 Amcu dragged out a strike in the platinum sector for five months.  "[Even] if the strike continues, and potentially there's another strike in [platinum] they [Sibanye] can stay afloat," Thobela Bixa of Mergence Investment Managers pointed out.  Old Mutual Invest analyst Meryl Pick sees Amcu's hard line at Sibanye's gold mining business as a "power play more about the platinum assets."  The union has appealed the decision by competition authorities to approve Sibanye's takeover of Lonmin and it wants a two-year moratorium on job cuts.

  • Read more of this Sunday Times Business Times report by Ntando Thukwana and TJ Strydom at SA Labour News

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