7 June 2022
There can be no winners after a three-month strike.
The strike at Sibanye-Stillwater’s gold operations ended after employees accepted a revised offer from the employer.
Employees went on strike over a dispute for as little as R200 per month. Although they will get R1 000 for the first year, a R900 increase in the second year and a R750 increase in the third year, it will take them years to recover the financial loss of the three months without pay.
Dawie Roodt, founder, Director and Chief Economist of the Efficient Group, says it is insane to allow workers to strike for such an extended period, bearing in mind that the miner is most likely the breadwinner of an extended family.
“At the end of the day, it is innocent and vulnerable family members who are starving.”
The loss of the Employer will be billions. Sibanye-Stillwater lost about R4 billion in EBITDA when it last had a strike at its gold operations in 2018/2019.
Moe Ally Senior Commissioner of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) and the facilitator of the Motor Industry Bargaining Council (MIBCO) 2022-Wage Negotiations, used the Sibanye-Stillwater’s situation to highlight the responsibilities of all the wage negotiation teams for the retail motor industry.
“People can take two routes when they try to negotiate an agreement. The one route is a long, hard route with severe consequences like those that we have seen with the Sibanye-Stillwater’s strike. The hard route ended up in blood, sweat and tears. Let’s not go there, but have constructive negotiations finding resolutions sooner than later,” said Ally.
MISA could not agree more.
A trade union today must not only promote the interest of its members by focussing on wage increases. Trade unions most have a holistic view on bettering working conditions like protecting jobs of employees, give advice and support, provide education and training to members and empower members to eliminate issues like violence and harassment in the workplace.
For the past four months, MISA persisted in requesting Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe to include the Union as a stakeholder in the process to review the fuel pricing methodology.
The Union persistence was finally acknowledged after Gosetseone Leketi, Chief Director: Petroleum Compliance, Enforcement & Fuel Pricing, assured MISA in a virtual meeting that it would be included in committee.
Martlé Keyter, MISA’s Chief Executive Officer: Operations, says the escalating fuel price has a direct negative impact on MISA’s members whether or not they are petrol pump attendants, working in manufacturing or dependent motor vehicle- and component sales, vehicle services and repair work.
“MISA realises that we need to protect the motor retail industry if the Union wants to secure the jobs of our members. Job creation and economic growth is not just Government’s responsibility, but is the social responsibility of everyone,” says Keyter.
According to Keyter, there is a growing responsibility on the leaders of trade unions to consider the bigger picture before just embarking on strikes with the potential to put job security at risk.
Only 23% of South Africa’s workforce belongs to trade unions, while 77% wishes not to.
“The message is clear; to remain relevant, trade unions can no longer be seen to only be fighting against the employer. It is in the best interest of workers, the most important stakeholder in a trade union, that an Employer can financially sustain its business. That forms the basis of job security in a country,” says Keyter.
Issued on behalf of MISA by Sonja Carstens, Media, Liaison and Communication Specialist.