SA power stations
“’ no effect from coal
strike so far
Johannesburg, South Africa — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 25 July 2011 – South African national power utility Eskom Holdings “’ which supplies more than 90% of the country’s electricity “’ says that it has not yet seen any immediate impact from a strike in the coal sector that started overnight.

However, Eskom, which relies on coal for almost all of its power generation, would definitely feel the impact if the strike was protracted, according to spokesman Tony Stott. “There is no immediate impact on our ability to supply electricity. We’ve got on average 38 days of coal stockpiles at the power stations,” he said.

Since last night, the first of anything up to 150,000 South African coal workers seeking a 14% wage increase have started a strike that could dent the country’s exports and hurt its power supplies.

Reuters reports that many thousands of union workers have downed tools in recent weeks, or are threatening to do so, seeking raises of double or triple the 5% inflation rate in the mid-year bargaining sessions known locally as ‘strike season’.

National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said employers had offered between 7 and 8.5%.

Eskom, battling a power crunch that threatens the energy-intensive mining sector, is itself facing strike threats from NUM workers at the state utility seeking 16% wage increases.