Pending strike illegal - Eskom

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Pretoria - Power utility, Eskom, says the impending strike action by its workers would be illegal and unprotected.

"We remind staff members that any strike action in Eskom would be illegal and unprotected and that by engaging in such action they would be exposing themselves to disciplinary and other action," Eskom said in a statement.

This after the utility's three recognised unions - the National Union of Mine Workers (NUM), National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and Solidarity rejected its revised offer. Workers affiliated to NUM have threatened to down tools as early as next week.

The unions had demanded a 9 percent across the board salary increase, a minimum housing benefit of R2 500 per month, backdated to 1 December 2009, a 9 percent increase in allowances and six months maternity leave on full pay.

Eskom has tabled a revised offer of an 8.5 percent salary increase across the board - a percentage that the unions have rejected saying it does not deal with benefits.

Along with the salary increase, Eskom has agreed to a 5.6 percent increase in specified allowances and a R1 000 per month top-up housing benefit.

"We are still at the negotiation table and believe that talks of an impending strike action are premature and irresponsible," said Eskom, adding that the offer is the best it can afford.

Should the unions opt for strike action, Eskom says it will use alternative staff to work at affected sites.

"If all three unions go on illegal strike, no contingency plan can comprehensively limit the impact on security of supply. Due to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, additional operational measures and security plans are in place," it said.