Eskom employees picket at eight power stations as wage talk deadlock is referred to CCMA

Strike continues

Eskom says striking workers are protesting at eight of its power stations. Stock photo.
Eskom says striking workers are protesting at eight of its power stations. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/123ucas

Striking Eskom employees continued with their protest action at eight power stations on Monday.

Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha said police have been roped in to assist Eskom security with maintaining order at the power stations.

Mantshantsha said striking workers are picketing outside Eskom facilities, including the Kusile, Hendrina, Medupi and Lethabo power stations.

Some employees went on an unprotected strike last Tuesday after a deadlock in wage negotiations.

On Friday Eskom was granted a court order stopping the unprotected strike at nine power stations and facilities. Incidents of intimidation of employees and blocking roads to power stations and facilities were reported. As a result, load-shedding was on Friday ramped up to stage 4 and Eskom said it would continue until Wednesday. However, the power utility warned the load-shedding stage could increase or decrease at short notice.

“We are operating under an unfavourable situation. It is not an ideal situation we find ourselves in and things can go either way when it comes to load-shedding,” Mantshantsha said. 

He said Eskom management is constantly in touch with union leaders and the good relationship management has with the union leaders is helping to calm workers in some situations.

Concerning the wage increase demands, Mantshantsha said Eskom found the demands unaffordable and has referred the matter to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).

Business Day reported last week that the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) and National Union of Mineworkers, which represent most of Eskom’s workforce of about 42,300 workers, wanted a one-year, 15% pay rise across the board, while Solidarity is demanding a 5.5% overall increase. Numsa has since reduced its demand to 12%. The newspaper said Eskom is offering a one-year pay hike deal for increases of 5.3%, 4.5% and 4% for its 28,374 employees in the bargaining unit. Employees in the bargaining unit are spread across different salary scales.


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