Following industrial action that has crippled Eskom’s ability to keep the lights on, the Department of Public Enterprises has stepped in.

Last week saw widespread demonstrations from Eskom employees affiliated with the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and Solidarity.

After a meeting on Friday with the Eskom board and the three unions, an agreement was reached that the industrial action was not beneficial to any of the parties involved, the country, or the economy.

During the meeting it was agreeed that Eskom’s zero percent wage offer would be taken off of the table and negotiations would resume with immediate effect. We have since learned via EWN that those negotiations are scheduled to resume on Tuesday.

The parties have also agreed to normalise operations at Eskom to ensure the security of the power supply. This process will leave the grid vulnerable for up to 10 days which means it’s likely we will experience more load shedding.

The future of Eskom’s sustainability has also been put under the microscope and the utility will have to look at other issues such as the cost of coal and the impact of its policies including the Independent Power Producers programme.

The Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, has called on all parties to engage with each other constructively and play their part in restoring the power supply.

Last week’s actions that led to some infrastructure being damaged was sparked by Eskom’s refusal to budge on a zero percent wage increase offer. The utility explained that there would be no increases as it was trying to better its financial situation.

Meanwhile workers were demanding up to a 15 percent increase.

 

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