Collective bargaining and employee relations


Operations and suppliers identified in which the right to exercise freedom of association and collective bargaining may be violated or at significant risk, and measures taken to support these rights
Minimum notice periods regarding operational changes, including whether these are specified in collective agreements

Key features

  • Two-year wage settlement
  • 89% of employees are unionised
  • Management relations are being normalised

Targets and objectives for 2013/2014

Sibanye’s targets include upholding the right to collective bargaining, improving management/union relations and seeking to achieve no work stoppages as a result of industrial action.

Sibanye upholds the right of employees, contractors and suppliers to exercise freedom of association and collective bargaining. This is in compliance with the South African Constitution, prescribed by legislation, industry compacts and recognition agreements with unions. Wages and other conditions of service for the majority of employees are negotiated biennially at a centralised level under the auspices of the Chamber of Mines.

At Sibanye, non-management employees are divided into three bargaining units: categories 4 to 8, Category 9 (miners and artisans) and Category 10 (officials). Unions registered with the DoL that represent at least 35% in any particular bargaining unit receive organisational rights which include:

  • access to the workplace, allowing qualifying unions to recruit members and host meetings on mine property outside of working hours;
  • access to payroll deduction facilities;
  • the opportunity to elect employee representatives for internal disciplinary processes; and
  • paid leave for representatives to allow them to carry out union-related duties.

Once a registered union reaches a representivity threshold of 35% within a bargaining unit, it acquires the right to bargain for that particular unit.

Around 89% of employees are unionised. Currently, four unions are recognised at Sibanye, namely the NUM, Solidarity, UASA and AMCU. Parties are required to engage with each other in good faith for the purposes of concluding satisfactory agreements on matters such as wages, substantive conditions of service and other matters of mutual interest.


Wage negotiations during 2013 could have proved to be particularly challenging with unions demanding wage increases of between 60% and 164%, and the emergence of a new union resulting in increased competition for support among employees.

Following four months of negotiation and mediation, a settlement was reached with the NUM, Solidarity and UASA in September 2013. Three production days were lost as a result of protected strike action called by the NUM. While AMCU was not party to the final agreement, the agreement was applied to all employees as the NUM, Solidarity and UASA collectively represented 72% of employees employed by the gold companies represented by the Chamber of Mines at the time.

The agreement reached has seen the cost of labour increase by between 7.5% and 8%. While this is below the double-digit increases demanded by organised labour, it exceeds the country’s inflation target of up to 6%. Labour makes up a significant portion (55%) of on-mine costs. In contrast with the events of 2012, the 2013 period was not marred by violence.


Various structures and engagement forums facilitate dialogue between organised labour and management. These include communication channels with human resource managers at all operations, employee representative committees, a Group newsletter, the Group’s website, intranet and campaign-specific materials aimed at engaging with employees’ behaviour.

Union representation as at end of December 2013
End 2013 NUM AMCU Solidarity UASA No union Total
Categories 4 to 8 60% 29% 0% 1% 9% 100%
Category 9 (miners and artisans) 4% 1% 2% 1% 15% 22%
Category 10 (officials) 8% 0% 2% 3% 17% 30%
Total 58% 25% 3% 3% 11% 100%