Sibanye Gold gets court order to stop strike

Members of Amcu began an indefinite strike at the mine earlier on Friday to push for transport.

FILE: Sibanye said the court order meant that any further labour stoppage would be illegal. Picture: Facebook.

JOHANNESBURG - Sibanye Gold obtained a court order on Friday to stop a strike at its Kroondal platinum mine that was launched by workers demanding that they be given transport.

Members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) began an indefinite strike at the mine earlier on Friday to push for transport because they were being attacked after working night shifts.

Sibanye spokesman James Wellsted said the court order meant that any further labour stoppage would be illegal.

The hardline Amcu union is the main worker's body at the Kroondal mine located in the Rustenburg platinum belt that has about 7,000 workers.

"The company doesn't want to provide transport for its employees and these are basic conditions of employment," Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa told Reuters.

Wellsted said the Kroondal mine was "break-even at best" due to low platinum prices and that the strike would place more pressure on operations.

"With metal prices being low for Amcu to now go on strike over issues that are being dealt with is irresponsible. This poses a threat of to the viability of the mine," he said.

Known for its militancy, Amcu led a record and sometimes violent five-month wage strike at three major platinum producers in 2014.

Unions and platinum companies are expected to start wage talks in the next few weeks.

Sibanye acquired the Kroondal mine when it bought Aquarius Platinum in October last year for $295 million.

It averted another strike by Amcu earlier this year at its gold operations by raising its wage offer slightly.

Sibanye inherited Anglo American Platinum's strike-battered Rustenburg mine when it bought the operation last year.