Coal stores near Eskom's Grootvlei power station. Most of SA's power is produced from coal. File picture: Dean Hutton

Cape Town - Eskom has said that a National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) strike at coal mines has so far not had any adverse effect on coal reserves at power stations and should not lead to load shedding.

The union’s estimated 30 000 members embarked on a wage strike on Sunday after the issuing of a non-resolution certificate by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration last week.

The union demanded a R1 000 increase for lower-level workers, while coal producers Anglo Coal, Glencore and Exxaro Coal offered a wage increase of between R300 and R600.

The minimum coal reserves at power stations stood at 30 days’ worth, with many power stations having more than that, an Eskom spokesman said today. But if the strike had to continue for a longer period, this situation could change.

Meanwhile, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) said yesterday it supported the strike by thousands of NUM members.

“Numsa, on behalf of its 365 000 members, pledges its unwavering support and unflinching solidarity with the striking coal workers, as led by two class-orientated and anti-capitalist workers formations, the NUM and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu),” the union said.

The strike, which has hit the coal producing region of Emalahleni in Mpumalanga, comes at a time when the mining and steel sector looked to shed thousands of jobs, as falling commodity prices began to hit the sectors several months ago.

The union called on its members and communities to rally behind the strike.

“Numsa calls on its members and communities to join the picket line in solidarity with the striking workers.

“Through solidarity actions we shall diminish the fictitious wall erected between community struggles and struggles on the shop floor,” the union said.

Numsa was expelled from trade union federation the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) this year for bringing the federation into disrepute.

The NUM is a Cosatu affiliate.

CAPE ARGUS