NUM, chamber to meet amid coal strike

Johannesburg - The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) will meet the Chamber of Commerce at noon on Thursday for further coal sector negotiations, the union said in a statement on Wednesday evening.

Coal workers, aligned to NUM, have been on strike since Sunday in demand for higher wages. Thursday’s meeting with the union comes after the companies affected by the strike met on their own earlier this week. The strike has affected operations at, among others, Anglo Coal, Glencore and Exxaro Coal.

NUM chief negotiator in the coal sector Peter Bailey on Wednesday evening said the Chamber had called the meeting. He, however, said he could not say if the Chamber would table a revised offer. Chamber of Mines spokesperson Charmane Russel was not immediately available to comment.

Bailey said, notwithstanding the strike, lines of communication and engagement with the Chamber remained open. In its statement, NUM said it was ready to meet the Chamber “to try and find an amicable solution”.

The strike is a blow to the coal industry which is battling a slump in the prices of coal and other commodities because of oversupply and lower demand.

As a result of these unfavourable conditions, Exxaro recently said, because of the weakened commodity outlook, it would focus on operational efficiencies and cost management.  

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