Exxaro Hillendale mine grinds to halt

[miningmx.com] — Diversified South African-based resources group Exxaro Resources on Tuesday said operations at its Hillendale mine have been stopped following a strike at its KwaZulu-Natal operations.

Exxaro said production at the operation’s smelter was continuing using stockpiled feedstock. It also said it has contingency plans in place.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Monday said workers had down
tools at Exxaro’s KZN Sands operations after failing to agree on wage increases.

Workers are demanding a 14% increase in their wages while Exxaro is offering 8%.

The strike continued on Tuesday with Exxaro reporting that half of the operation’s 470 bargaining unit workers were taking part.

But the company was on Monday forced to obtain a court interdict ordering striking employees to comply with the picket rule agreement as well as to refrain from intimidating and refusing access to contractors.

“The interdict was obtained after striking workers intimidated and blocked access to the smelter for in-coming and out-going transport and other contractors,” Exxaro said in a statement.

Despite the interdict, striking workers on Tuesday continued to intimidate transport contractors serving the smelter resulting in a disruption of these services.

“The company does not anticipate a disruption in supply of product but is
monitoring the situation closely and will advise stakeholders should the situation
change,” it said.

In addition to a 14% wage increase, the NUM said workers were further demanding that the company ban the use of labour brokers and offer a housing allowance of R2 000 a month.

Exxaro, however, argued that the 8% offer was “far in excess of CPI which is
currently standing at 4.2%”.

“Exxaro believes that it has acted in good faith and that the offer is fair and
reasonable,” the company said, adding that the principle of ‘no work no pay’ applies to employees taking part in the strike.

“The company believes that a strike is not the means to resolve matters which can rather be resolved in an amicable manner by means of constructive engagement,” it added.