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Now Eskom faces blackout

By unknown | Jun 19, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Getrude Makhafola

Getrude Makhafola

Homeowners and businesses will be blacked out if energy -sector unions have their way. Unions aim to force electricity provider Eskom to accede to their wage demands.

The country faces economic shutdown if the workers execute their threat. The impending strike will follow hard on the crippling public-sector strike.

"This programme will include pickets, go-slows and a strike, unless the employer agrees to our demands. This will obviously result in electricity cuts," Phutas Tseki, negotiator for the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), said yesterday.

The National Union of Mineworkers (Num), Numsa and Solidarity are demanding a 12 percent increase, but Eskom is offering 6 percent.

The unions plan to meet Eskom next week. They say they will start industrial action next month if Eskom does not agree to their demands.

Mpho Letlape,pictured, Eskom's human resources director, said the company's entry-level employees earn R6  800 a month including the value of benefits, but excluding overtime and allowances.

Qualified technicians earn more than R12 000. Eskom is struggling to find skilled staff, especially in engineering and technical departments.

Dirk Hermann, from Solidarity, said the unions had not signed an agreement with Eskom over essential services.


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