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NUM coal strike not affecting Eskom... yet

30,000 workers have downed tools, demanding a R1,000 salary increase for its lowest paid workers.

FILE: The union has called on Eskom to put pressure on its coal suppliers to resolve the impasse over wages. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom says the strike by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has not affected its coal supplies at this stage as they have sufficient reserves.

The union has called on Eskom to put pressure on its coal suppliers to resolve the impasse over wages.

Thirty thousand workers have downed tools, demanding a R1,000 salary increase for its lowest paid workers.

Eskom's Khulu Phasiwe says this has not affected electricity supply.

"The strike action has not had any direct bearing on our operations. However, we do not have unlimited resources in terms of our coal supply at our power stations. But on average we have 30 more days of coal supply, so if the strike is protected, we might run into trouble."

'PROLONGED STRIKE MAY LEAVE SA IN THE DARK'

On Monday, Eskom 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.

Phasiwe said the NUM members 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 said the company will not feel the effects of the strike for at least one month.

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