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NUM vows to fight for Eskom coal supplier jobs

Dec 07 2015 21:30
Siseko Njobeni

Johannesburg - The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has expressed unhappiness and shock at Eskom’s decision not to renew contracts with individual mining companies to supply coal to its power plants.

The decision not to renew contracts by Eskom will lead to job losses in the industry, NUM said. NUM is the biggest union in the coal industry.

The union threatened to embark on a “massive” national strike if Eskom CEO Brian Molefe does not address its concerns.

“We want to put it categorically clear as the NUM that we are not defending or speaking on behalf of the individual mining companies affected, but we are defending thousands of our members who are going to be retrenched because of Eskom's decision not to renew the contracts. NUM is a worker controlled union and we will defend our members who are affected by this decision,” the union said in a statement on Monday afternoon.

The NUM said thousands of its members and other employees at Exxaro's Arnot coal mine in Mpumalanga could lose their jobs, after Eskom informed the company that it would not renew its coal procurement contract.

READ: NUM facing brick wall on Eskom's Arnot decision

It said if Eskom does not renew the contract, the mine would close at the end of this month.

The non-renewal of Arnot coal mine's contract seems like a foregone conclusion after Eskom announced that it had already invited request for proposals for the supply of coal to its coal-fired Arnot power station.

In a statement on the matter released earlier this month, Eskom also alluded to its dissatisfaction with the performance of the mine.

READ: Eskom ‘bombshell’ puts 1000 jobs on the line

"Our members are facing a bleak future and there are possible job losses of 1 139 permanent employees excluding contractors with 546 employees at Exxaro Arnot coal mine. This is a calamity. We view this as a serious concern taking into account that the current rate of unemployment is 25% in the country," said NUM deputy secretary William Mabapa.

"Glencore's Optimum coal mine is under business rescue and the company pointed at Eskom as the main factor that led to the job losses in the company. We urge Eskom to resolve its problems or differences with individual mining companies amicably (rather) than to take drastic actions that will lead to massive job losses," Mabapa said.

NUM said Molefe should reverse the cancellation of these contracts with individual mining companies “because it is ordinary workers who are going to be negatively affected. If his job is to shed jobs, he must go. We are very unhappy with him. We are aware that Molefe used the same strategy at Transnet.”  

The union vowed to fight to save the jobs of its members. “The NUM is deeply worried because unemployment has remained as catastrophic as it was since he took office,” it said. 

num  |  eskom  |  mining  |  coal  |  retrenchments  |  jobs
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