Coal strike to begin on Sunday

2011-07-22 10:38

Coal workers affiliated to the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and Solidarity will go on strike from Sunday evening, the Chamber of Mines said.

“We have received notice of intention to strike from NUM and Solidarity and this will begin from the night shift on Sunday,” said spokesperson Frans Barker.

NUM spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said the union would go ahead with the strike because Wednesday’s wage negotiations had deadlocked.

The chamber – negotiating for Anglo Thermal Coal SA, Delmas Coal, Exxaro, Kangra Coal, Optimum Coal and Xstrata Coal – offered a final 8.5% increase for entry level employees and 7% for other employees.

This offer was in conjunction with allowances for living out, medical incapacity and medical aid contributions, the chamber said.

NUM was demanding 14%.

On Wednesday, Seshoka said a “powerful strike” was necessary to force employers to submit to their demands.

“A powerful strike is a strike that lasts more than a week. It must take many weeks for a strike to work with as many members as possible.”

Barker said the coal industry had contingency plans in place.

“They have a considerable stock pile of export quality coal, and Eskom have built up their stocks substantially since they had problems in 2008.”

Solidarity could not immediately be reached for comment.

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