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Amcu suspends planned strike at Sibanye

Amcu said on Monday it would launch an indefinite strike at the bullion producer to demand higher wages.

FILE: Members of Association of Mine workers and Construction Union (Amcu) protest at Glencore’s Wonderfontein coal mine in Mpumalanga. Picture: @_AMCU.

JOHANNESBURG - The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) said on Wednesday it had suspended a planned wage strike at Sibanye Gold to allow for further talks, buoying the firm's shares.

Amcu said on Monday it would launch an indefinite strike at the bullion producer to demand higher wages.

Sibanye, which is in the process of acquiring Anglo American Platinum's labour-intensive Rustenburg mine and Aquarius Platinum, signed an agreement with three smaller unions last year and extended the wage deal to Amcu members, angering the union's members.

"We are in discussions with Amcu and while they are taking place they have suspended the strike action," Sibanye spokesman James Wellsted told Reuters said on Wednesday.

Amcu's spokesman, Manzini Zungu, also told Reuters the strike had been suspended pending the outcome of the talks.

Sibanye shares rose 3.7 percent after the news and traded 2.7 percent higher at R55.67.

Sibanye, which produces all of its gold in South Africa, had previously said it would not renegotiate wages.

"We will continue to engage constructively with Amcu leadership in an attempt to ensure a favourable outcome for all stakeholders," Sibanye Chief Executive Officer Neal Froneman said in a statement.

Known for its militancy, Amcu has said it aims to get the salaries paid to its members in the gold sector to match the higher wages in coal and platinum.

AMCU led a bruising five-month wage strike in the platinum sector demanding more than a doubling of wages in 2014 to R12,500 - the same demand sought in gold last year. In both instances the demands were unsuccessful.

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