Exxaro inks a midnight deal to end strike

2013-03-23 16:56

The two-week unprotected strike at coal mining giant Exxaro has ended, with a new deal signed near midnight on Friday.

The company has agreed to pay workers, who embarked on a unprotected strike on March 5, their full salary for the month if they return to work tomorrow.

That’s according to Mxolisi Hoboyi, the National Union of Mineworkers secretary at Exxaro’s Arnot colliery in Mpumalanga.

The once-off bonus of R2?000, or 2% of annual pay, which was initially offered to end the strike has also been increased to a minimum of R2?800, to be paid halfway through next month.

The “no work, no pay” rule will still apply for the two weeks’ lost production, but the deductions will be spread over a number of months, says Hoboyi.

The concession comes shortly after Exxaro applied for an interdict, which would allow it to fire the strikers and set an ultimatum for tomorrow.

The strike, which has hit five Exxaro collieries – some of which are the primary suppliers to Eskom power stations – was sparked by nonpayment of production bonuses for the last half of last year.

According to Exxaro, these were not paid because targets were missed.

The strikes started at two mines and then spread when Exxaro announced 2012 earnings of R2.9 billion shortly after withholding bonuses, said Hoboyi.

– Dewald van Rensburg

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