The National Union of Mineworkers had successfully negotiated a three-year wage agreement with several coal producers, averting a sector-wide strike that could have affected power supply, the companies said on Thursday.
The union reached the deal, which varies for each coal producer, after saying in October that it would call a strike if wage demands were not met by the Chamber of Mines, which has been representing mining firms in pay talks, including Anglo American Coal, Exxaro and Glencore.
A strike in the coal sector could have affected the nation’s power supply, as most of the power in SA is generated from the fuel.
For the lowest-paid workers at five of the six companies, the agreement included an increase ranging from R850 to R1,100 for 2017, an increase of between 6% to 7.5% in 2018 and an increase ranging between 7% and 8.5% in the final year, the head of employment relations at the Chamber of Mines, Motsamai Motlhamme, said.
For the sixth company, Delmas Coal, the agreement is for a 7.5% increase in 2017, an increase of consumer inflation plus 1% for 2018 and a 7.5% increase in 2019 for its lowest-paid workers.
The agreement will be effective from June 1 for officials and July 1 for the lowest-paid workers at all the companies, with the exception of Koornfontein Mines and Delmas Coal, both of which will implement it on July 1 for all employees.