The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) announced that the Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, has committed to ensuring Eskom does not go back to the negotiating table with the same 0% wage increase. Gordhan engaged in a meeting with Cosatu’s national leaders on Wednesday afternoon.
Cosatu spokesperson, Sizwe Pamla, said the union would not allow their members to pay for the faults of others. “Cosatu made it very clear to the Minister that while we support his efforts to turn around and clean up the State-Owned Entities, we will not allow a situation where workers are forced to pay for the sins of others.”
Speaking to Fin24, Pamla said that the 0% wage offer made by Eskom was offensive.
A statement released by the parent body of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu), called on members, workers and South Africans to support the lunchtime pickets of Eskom workers on Thursday.
Numsa has been working in close relation to its sister affiliate, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), is opposing the 0% wage offer as well. The two unions hosted a joint press conference on Tuesday to announce plans for Thursday’s protest.
Eskom has stationed private security guards at it’s Johannesburg headquarters to ensure that employees who are not participating in the strike can enter safely. The lunchtime picket will involve hundreds of union members marching to Megawatt Park on Thursday afternoon to hand over a memorandum.
In a statement released on Wednesday, Eskom assured its consumers that critical facilities will continue to operate optimally.
“Eskom’s power stations and other critical facilities continue to operate optimally in line with the contingency measures that the company has put in place to ensure security of power supply during this period of wildcat strikes,” the public enterprise said.
“There are, however, a few isolated incidents where some protesting workers tried to blockade the entrances of our power stations, but these situations have been quelled by the presence of the Public Order Police. The situation remains tense but stable.”
Eskom added that it appreciates and thanks its employees for their continued work to keep lights on.