NUM signs 2-year wage deal as coal strike ends

By Drum Digital
13 October 2015

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Chamber of Mines on Tuesday signed a two-year wage agreement in the coal sector.

In terms of this agreement, which ended a week-long strike, lowest paid workers will get increases of between R750 and R1 000 per month in year one and guaranteed increases of 7.5% in year two. Most employees in the higher categories could receive increases of between 5% and 7.5%t in both years.

NUM chief negotiator in the coal sector Peter Bailey said the striking workers will resume work on Wednesday. The chamber, which represents Anglo Coal, Delmas, Kangra, Koornfontein, Msobo and Glencore [JSE:GLN], said earlier that increases to the living out allowance and housing allowance will vary from company to company.

The chamber's head of employment relations Motsamai Motlhamme said given that the industry is facing subdued demand and both price and cost pressures, "the agreement reached is at the limit of what is affordable".

"After months of negotiations, we have reached a settlement which represents a reasonably balanced outcome in the best interests of employees and the industry,” Motlhamme said in a statement.

The strike attracted national attention because of the effect it could have on Eskom’s ability to supply electricity.

A prolonged strike would result in the depletion of Eskom’s coal stockpiles, threatening power generation.

Eskom has consistently said it had no immediate fears of a power supply crunch because of the strike as it had enough stockpiles at its coal-fired power stations. Except for two hours and 20 minutes, South Africa has had no load shedding for the past 65 days now, Eskom said in a statement on Tuesday.

"We are implementing our maintenance plan to increase the reliability of our plant, which will in turn increase our operating reserves and stabilise the grid," it said.

Source: Fin24

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