S. Africa's main coal union accepts wage offer, ends strike

S. Africa's main coal union accepts wage offer, ends strike

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is South Africa's coal mining industry biggest union. (Image from archives)

The biggest union for South Africa's coal mining industry, accepted Tuesday a wage offer from the country’s main employers, agreeing to end a strike that began over a week ago.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Chamber of Mines, which has been negotiating on behalf of the country’s main coal producers, will sign the agreement later today, All Africa reports.

Wage talks in South Africa’s gold and coal sectors have continued for months as mining companies face declining commodity prices and growing competition between unions.

Almost 30,000 coal workers downed tools on Oct. 4 at operations run by Anglo American (LON:AAL), Exxaro Resources (JSE:EXX), Glencore (LON:GLEN) and some minor local producers.

South Africa’s coal sector directly employs almost 90,000 people, including contractors, and paid about 19 billion rand (US$1.4bn) in wages in 2014, according to the chamber’s website.

The nation has been severely affected by power shortages as of late, and relies heavily on coal for most of its electricity.