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SA unions plan 'mother of all' strikes against Eskom coal plant closures

Staff Writer |
Two of the most powerful unions in South Africa are banding together to run a campaign of strikes and marches against the national power generator Eskom over its plans to close down a string of ageing coal-fired power stations, the unions said.

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The unions - the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) will hold a meeting Saturday to discuss strategy.

Eskom plans to begin next year the shut down of the 3,000 MW Kriel, 1,000 MW Komati, 2,000 MW Hendrina and 1,600 MW Camden coal-fired power stations, all in Mpumalanga, in the northwest of the country.

The government says it wants to make way for more renewable energy by closing power stations that are near to the end of their life and vulnerable to breakdowns.

NUMSA said in a statement Friday that the closures will cost 35,000 jobs.

"The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa is gearing up for the mother of all strikes in its bid to fight the looming crisis at Eskom," the union said in the statement.

The NUM is the majority union at Eskom and claims 15,000 members at the national power generator, which employs 60,000.

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