Tegeta will honour the original coal supply contract Optimum coal mine had in place

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has voiced its concern that Eskom CEO Brian Molefe has chosen not to renew coal contracts with “individual mining companies to supply coal to its power plants.”

This decision will lead to job losses in the mining industry and mineworkers are going to be affected by this decision NUM says.

“We want to put it categorically clear as the NUM that we are not defending or speaking on behalf of the individual mining companies affected, but we are defending thousands of our members who are going to be retrenched because of Eskom’s decision not to renew the contracts,” the union says in an official statement.

Thousands of NUM members and other employees at Exxaro’s Arnot coal mine in Mpumalanga are facing possible job losses after Eskom announced it would not be renewing its supply contract.

On 8 September 2015, while in discussions as per the MoU, Eskom advised Exxaro that the contract will terminate on 31 December 2015 and instructed Exxaro to start the process of closure of the Arnot mine.

“Our members are facing a bleak future and there are possible job losses of 1 139 permanent employees excluding contractors with 546 employees at Arnot. This is a calamity. We view this as a serious concern taking into account that the current rate of unemployment is 25% in the country,” says William Mabapa, NUM Deputy General Secretary.

Glencore Optimum coal mine is under business rescue and the company pointed to Eskom as the main factor that led to the job losses in the company. We urge Eskom to resolve its problems or differences with individual mining companies amicably than to take drastic actions that will lead to massive job losses,” Mabapa adds.

In its statement NUM “humbly requests” Brian Molefe to reverse the cancellation of these contracts with individual mining companies because it is ordinary workers who are going to be negatively affected.

“We are aware that Molefe is using the same strategy as Transnet to shed jobs. The NUM will embark on a massive national strike to Eskom head office if Brian Molefe does not address concerns of our members,” the statement concludes.

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