South Africa's AMCU Calls All Mines to Join Sibanye Strike

(Bloomberg) -- A South African labor union called on its members working across the nation’s gold, platinum and coal mines to down tools in support of a strike at Sibanye Gold Ltd.

“We control these mines,” Joseph Mathunjwa, president of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, told reporters in Johannesburg on Tuesday. He declined to say when the secondary strike will start, but said it would include members at companies such as AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. and Harmony Gold Mining Co., plus Lonmin Plc and Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd.

South Africa's AMCU Calls All Mines to Join Sibanye Strike

AMCU, the biggest labor union in the nation’s platinum-mining belt, is escalating threats in a standoff with Sibanye Chief Executive Officer Neal Froneman who announced last week that the company may cut more than 6,000 jobs. AMCU started a strike over wages at the company’s gold mines in November, and held a stay-away at Sibanye’s platinum operations last month.

Mathunjwa said that Sibanye was targeting job cuts at AMCU and called for investors to pull funds from the company.

South Africa’s platinum producers are due to start wage negotiations with labor unions this year. The existing contracts were signed after AMCU held the nation’s longest platinum industry strike in 2014.

AMCU will welcome participation by communities in a wider strike that’s more about ordinary citizens not benefiting from the country’s mineral wealth, according to Mathunjwa. “The question is, what will happen to the millions of South Africans if we keep quiet?”

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