South African Coal Miner Exxaro’s Workers End Illegal Strike

Exxaro Resources Ltd., South Africa’s second-biggest coal miner, said employees agreed to return to work on March 25 after more than two weeks of an unauthorized strike at its facilities.

The Pretoria-based company will pay each worker at least 2,800 rand ($301) as an incentive to end the stoppage at six of its mines, it said in an e-mailed statement today. Talks with the National Union of Mineworkers broke down on March 19.

The deal “has averted the possible negative effect that a prolonged strike could have had on Eskom’s electricity generation and the country’s economy,” the company said.

Exxaro supplies all the power-station coal it mines to South African electricity utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., which relies the fuel for 80 percent of generation. Labor unrest in Africa’s largest economy spread from Lonmin Plc’s Marikana operations in August, where 44 people died including 34 shot by police, to gold, coal and iron-ore mines. Truck drivers and farmworkers also went on strike demanding higher wages.

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