Chances are high that a strike in the coal sector will be averted after the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) agreed to take a new offer from coal employers to its members.
The NUM has been negotiating since February on a multiyear wage agreement with coal companies represented by the Chamber of Mines. The agreement would take effect from July 1.
The chamber’s members in the negotiations are Anglo American Coal, Delmas Coal, Exxaro Coal Mpumalanga, Kangra Coal, Koornfontein and Glencore.
A settlement is in the interests not only of workers and companies but also of Eskom, which relies on coal for its power stations.
The parties deadlocked and the NUM was planning to issue employers with a 48-hour strike notice. However, it agreed to meet employers again on Monday, when a new offer was presented.
The NUM said on Tuesday that it was not in a position to accept or reject the latest wage offer but would seek a mandate from its members and meet the chamber again on Wednesday.
It declined to give details of the new offer.
The NUM has sought wage increases of between 8% and 10% a year over three years, as well as increases in other allowances. The chamber’s offer was close to or slightly above consumer price inflation.