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NUM members begin strike in coal sector

As many as 30,000 workers at coal mines will down tools as they demand a pay hike.

Coal mining in South Africa produces enough coal to account for 94% of its energy production. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - Tens of thousands of members of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in the coal sector have downed tools this evening.

The union says its members have decided to stop working after talks between the NUM and the Chamber of Mines failed to produce the desired outcome.

One of the NUM's demands is a pay hike of R1,000 for workers in the lowest paid category, while the employer is offering R300.

As many as 30,000 miners are set to take part in the work stoppage.

The NUM's Nelson Ratshoshi says members are well aware of the impact of the strike.

"It will affect investors because any strike will affects investors. Even now the country is facing a serious economic challenge," says Ratshoshi.

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) issued a certificate of non-resolution to NUM's dispute in the coal industry earlier this week.

According to the Chamber of Mines, coal mining in South Africa produces enough coal to account for 94% of its energy production. South Africa is one of the world's top five coal exporters and the industry directly employs close to 90,000 people and paid almost R19 billion in wages in 2014.