18 March 2013 – Strikes by employees at coal producer Exxaro Resources, which supplies numerous Eskom power stations, was on-going in mid-March 2013 as workers demanded performance bonuses. These bonuses were not paid because the mines had not achieved the pre-requisite performance goals.
Mines affected by the strike include the Arnot and Matla collieries in Mpumalanga as well as the Grootegeluk mine in Limpopo and the Inyanda and Leeuwpan mines in Mpumalanga.
As a result of the strikes Eskom power stations supplied by these mines are eating into coal stockpiles. Typically Eskom’s coal fired power stations keep 40 days of coal stockpiles, this lesson having been learned following blackouts during early 2008. However, the strikes place pressure on the national electricity grid ahead of peak demand in the coming winter, as a lack of coal production prevents stockpiles from being replenished, and reduces the buffers available to the utility.
In addition strike action resumed at the Medupi power station under construction and already two years behind schedule.