Vale says won't pay bonuses to striking Mozambique mine workers

MAPUTO, Dec 18 (Reuters) – Global miner Vale said on Monday it would not pay bonuses demanded by its workers in what it called an illegal strike at the Moatize coal plant in Mozambique.

Workers downed tools on Friday demanding two bonuses including a 14th salary and a retention bonus, Vale said.

Vale in Mozambique employs 2,500 direct workers and about 7,000 indirectly. The Moatize mine, where the workers have staged a strike, produced 5.5 million tonnes of metallurgical and thermal coal in 2016, the company's annual report said.

Vale said in a statement there was "no provision for any payment" to meet the demands of the striking workers, and called the action illegal.

"We advise our workers to return to their jobs, so that this type of issue is dealt within the competent forums," it said, adding that pay was calculated based in performance.

In 2016, Vale increased the salaries of its workers by up to 9 percent and in 2017 raised it 15.6 percent.

(Reporting by Manuel Mucari; Editing by Edmund Blair)