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South African power utility, Eskom “declares dispute” with unions

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There seems to be no end in sight for the Eskom wage clashes, as the power utility has no plans to drop disciplinary action against striking workers

The stand-off between Eskom and unions continues as the power utility declared a dispute, reaching yet another deadlock.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) insists it won’t sign the Eskom wage offer it’s accepted on principle if the power utility refuses to drop charges against its members.

NUMSA is accusing Eskom of negotiating in bad faith and says the power utility wants to use the illegal strike during wage talks as an excuse to fire workers.

NUMSA, along with NUM members finally accepted the power giant’s offer of a 7.5% increase for this year and a further 7% salary hike over a two-year period, increased housing allowance and a once-off payment of R10,000. Solidarity has also accepted the offer.

“Eskom reserves its right to follow the disciplinary process in line with the company’s Disciplinary Code and Procedure,” Eskom Group Executive for Human Resources, Elsie Pule, said.

“In an effort to bring the process to a conclusion, Eskom has referred a mutual interest dispute to the CCMA. We remain positive that the process will be expeditiously resolved,” she said.

In the meantime, Eskom has said there is an increased probability of loadshedding in the evening, between 17h00 and 21h00.  “We encourage residents and businesses to please use electricity sparingly to ease the demand of electricity. Please switch off geysers as well as all non-essential lighting and electricity appliances to assist in reducing demand”, it said.

Thabo Baloyi
[email protected]

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