3,000-plus coal workers strike in South Africa
Over 3,000 workers at five Exxaro coal mines in South Africa were on strike Monday over unpaid bonuses, a company spokesman said, prompting fears electricity supplies could be hit.
“The strikes are related to different issues at the mines,” company spokesman Win de Klerk said in a statement.
“Production has stopped at these mines and Exxaro is engaging with unions and managing the situation to bring operations to normality as soon as possible,” it said.
The company supplies the state owned energy company Eskom with coal for power stations.
The state utility said stockpiles would last up to 40 days, ruling out immediate shortages.
Workers at two mines, Matla and Arnot in the eastern province of Mpumalanga were the first to down tools on March 5.
Workers at three other mines have since followed suit.
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said talks with Exxaro bosses had not yet yielded results.
“The company informed the workers that failure to meet targets had resulted in bonuses not being paid,” said NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka.
South Africa’s mining industry is recovering from a wave of deadly labour disputes over pay, which shut down gold and platinum mines last year and slashed profits.