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NUM: Coal-mining strike will hit investment

About 30,000 coal mineworkers affiliated with the NUM are on a nationwide strike over wages.

FILE: Striking mine workers who support the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) take part in a protest in Carletonville. Picture:AFP

JOHANNESBURG - About 30,000 coal mineworkers affiliated to the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) are continuing with a nationwide strike on Monday at several companies, including Anglo Coal, Glencore and Kroonfontein, after months of negotiations over wages and working conditions.

NUM members downed tool at coal operations from 6pm on Sunday.

The union has warned that the strike will have a negative impact on investment and has urged mine bosses to present a better wage offer if they want miners to go back to work.

The union is demanding a R1,000 increase for lower category workers, while the companies are offering berween R300 and R600.

The NUM's Nelson Ratshoshi says, "The country is now facing an electricity challenge and the country is facing a serious economic challenge. We can't afford to sacrifice our lives, our manpower. They must actually compensate us; they must give us different salaries for our power."

ESKOM WARNS PROLONGED STRIKE MAY LEAVE SA IN THE DARK

Eskom has warned that the strike by workers in the coal sector will only restart load-shedding if the work stoppage continues for two months, but it's hopeful it will be resolved by the end of this week.

The power utility's spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe says the NUM members going on strike are integral to South Africa's electricity supply.

"They are responsible for the majority of the coal that we use at our power stations. If their strike continues for more than two months, it might affect our operations severely."

But he says the company will not feel the effects of the strike for at least one month.

"Some of our power stations have more than 30 days of worth of coal supply. We are generally okay as a company and hopefully the strike will be resolved very soon."

It's understood the Chamber of Mines will meet with the coal companies affected by the work stoppage this week.