NUM wants Eskom to pay standard rates to avoid job cuts

Glencore says it applied for business rescue because it's been selling coal to Eskom below cost price.

FILE: The National Union of Mineworkers members protest outside Eskom offices in northern Johannesburg on 4 August 2014. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG -The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) says it will be campaigning for Eskom to pay Glencore Optimum Coal according to market prices, so it can survive business rescue and avoid retrenchments.

The NUM is the majority union at Eskom and Optimum Coal, where more than 300 of its members face retrenchment.

The company says it's been forced to apply for business rescue because it has been selling coal to Eskom at below the cost price.

NUM Deputy President Joseph Montisetsi says they will call for fair pricing at a two-day meeting currently underway in Pretoria.

"If we dig deep and find that the payments that are paid to Optimum by Eskom is very low we have to argue that Optimum must be paid according to the standard so that it will be able to finance its operations in the country, "said Montisetsi.

Earlier the mineral resources ministry said it made the right decision in ordering Glencore to close its Optimum coal mine, despite the fact that all of the mine's workers will now lose their jobs.

On Tuesday, Minister Ngaoko Ramathlodi said the mine must be closed because it was not following the proper procedures while retrenching workers.

At the same time Eskom announced it believes it's paying too much for coal and now wants to renegotiate its contracts with coal producers.