File photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi

 

Johannesburg - The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) said on Monday it supported the strike by thousands of National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) members at the country’s coal producers.

“Numsa, on behalf 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.

NUM’s 30 000 members embarked on a wage strike on Sunday following the issuing of non-resolution certificate by the Commission of Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) last week.

The union demanded a R1000 increase for lower level category workers, while the coal producers such as Anglo Coal, Glencore and Exxaro Coal, offered a wage increase of between R300 and R600.

Power utility Eskom reportedly warmed on Monday that a prolonged strike in the coal sector would force it to revert to load shedding. Eskom’s power stations are reliant on coal to produce electricity.

The strike, which has hit the coal producing region of Emalahleni in Mpumalanga, comes at a time when the mining and the 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 shopfloor,” the union said.

Numsa was expelled from trade union federation the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) this year for bringing the federation into disrepute. NUM is a Cosatu affiliate.

ANA