Eskom, labour unions head back to negotiation table

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Power utility Eskom and labour unions have agreed to go back to the negotiation table to bring an end to protest action, which has disrupted the supply of electricity.

On Friday, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan convened a meeting with the Eskom board and management and the three labour unions -- National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) and Solidarity -- with the intention of getting all parties to engage on the issues around the employee salary negotiations.

“The parties agreed that the current disruptions at Eskom, which resulted in load shedding as of Thursday, are not beneficial to any party [and]… the country and the economy,” said Gordhan.

According to the Minister “the spirit of the meeting was to get all parties to get back to the negotiation table, to normalise relationships and to normalise operations at Eskom”.

“It was agreed that the 0% offer from Eskom is off the table [and] to normalise operations immediately to restore normal production in order to ensure the security of electricity supply; to engage on other key issues that impact on the future sustainability of Eskom such as coal costs, the impact of policy, including IPPs and building trustworthy relationship between the parties as part of the process post negotiations,” said Gordhan.

Prior to implementing load shedding, Eskom on Thursday announced that the generation and distribution of electricity across its network was constrained due to acts of sabotage and intimidation as a result of protest action.

There had been several incidents of road blockades, attacks on staff, and wilful damage of electricity infrastructure.

On Saturday evening, the power utility implemented stage 2 load shedding between 5pm and 9pm. –