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JOHANNESBURG - JSE-listed Exxaro Resources said that workers affiliated to the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) at two of its collieries in Limpopo and Mpumalanga have downed tools following a wage dispute.

This comes after the NUM served the South African coal and heavy minerals mining company with a strike certificate and also gave notice of their intention to embark on strike action from Thursday at the company's collieries in two provinces.

"We have noted the decision by NUM to issue a strike notice. The strike action affects Grootegeluk Coal Mine in Lephalale, as well as Leeuwpan Coal Mine in Delmas," said Mzila Mthenjane, executive head of strategy and stakeholder engagement at Exxaro.

"We continue discussions with NUM in order to resolve and reach agreement sooner to minimise impact on employees."

The wage dispute between NUM and Exxaro dates back to April and has even gone through conciliation by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) where parties failed to reach an agreement.

After last week's deadlock in negotiations, the NUM served Exxaro with a 48-hour strike notice that became active from Tuesday. 

The union demands a wage increase of 10%, service increment of 0.5 percent, housing increase of 10% or R5,000, standby allowance of 10%, family responsibility leave of eight days, long service award of 15 years with one Kruger rand.

It was not immediately clear how many members the NUM has at these Exxaro's collieries. However, the NUM has agreed to meet with Exxaro on Friday to continue with the negotiation process. 

Exxaro also said negotiations with Solidarity, the other trade union recognised for collective bargaining, were continuing as they have not declared a dispute with the company. 

"We are working closely with all other stakeholders to minimise any potential impact on coal supply. We remain committed to resolving the dispute with the NUM and we are continuing with engagements and remain confident that an amicable resolution can be reached," Exxaro said.