Unions call for situation to be ‘normalised’ at Eskom plants after progress in wage talks

28 June 2022 - 18:17
By Staff Reporter
Eskom workers protesting at the Duvha power station near Emalahleni.
Image: Thulani Mbele Eskom workers protesting at the Duvha power station near Emalahleni.

On Tuesday two unions whose members have downed tools at Eskom plants across the country called on their members to return to work after progress between themselves and the power utility in wage talks.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) issued a joint statement after two days of wage talks.

“NUM and Numsa can inform the public and our members at Eskom that the bilateral meeting this morning has registered considerable progress. Negotiations have been able to break new ground with a new offer which will be tabled at the Central Bargaining Forum (CBF) on Friday,” the unions said.

“Given that Eskom has finally agreed to return to the negotiating table and there is a new offer which will be formally presented on Friday in the CBF, NUM and Numsa leadership are calling on our members at Eskom to give the process of negotiations a chance.

This includes consultation processes with workers themselves on the new offer that is a product of negotiations between the two unions and Eskom over the past two days to unlock the deadlock.

“In light of these developments, we call on workers at Eskom to normalise the situation. We are calling on our members to give this process and the CBF meeting on Friday the necessary chance to settle the dispute.”

This development comes after Eskom announced stage 6 load-shedding which would see power cuts of up to five hours per rotation. 

Explaining the drastic power disruptions Eskom said: “This is due to the unlawful and unprotected labour action which has caused widespread disruption at Eskom’s power plants. This has compelled Eskom to continue taking precautionary measures to conserve generation capacity and safeguard plants from damage.”

AfriForum had started preparing court papers to file to the high court in Pretoria to compel police to take action against striking Eskom workers who were allegedly intimidating workers who had not joined the strike.

The civil organisation said there were also reports of several Eskom managers’ houses being set on fire.

Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan is hosting a briefing on Tuesday night to update the public on the latest developments at the power utility.