The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the National Union of Metalworkers (Numsa) have planned a one-day shutdown of Eskom on Thursday to protest the public enterprise’s 0% salary increases.
Eskom has assured consumers that the strike will not disrupt the public enterprise’s services. A voice note doing the rounds on social media has warned people to expect power cuts on Thursday.
Eskom spokesperson, Khulu Phasiwe, said that there is no cause for concern, and that there are no plans to implement load shedding. “We’ve noted some of the plans by some of the workers within Eskom to go on an industrial action, but we’ve activated our contingency plan to keep the lights on,” he said.
The power utility has sympathised with its 47 000 employees, but cannot offer salary increases due to the difficult financial situation it finds itself in.
“Eskom has noted the statements made by the trade unions about their intentions to embark on an industrial action this Thursday,” it said. “Eskom has been designated as an essential service provider, and therefore our employees are reminded that they are not allowed to participate in strike actions.”
Employees are demanding a 15% pay increase, as well as a housing allowance increase, banning of labour workers and insourcing of workers such as cleaners and security guards.They also want paid maternity leave for six months and paid paternity leave for one month.
NUM and Numsa have said that that they have left room for salary increase negotiations after being deadlocked over the utility’s 0% wage increase, and have called for both President Cyril Ramaphosa and Minister of Energy, Jeff Radebe, to intervene.
Eskom also said that it would continue to provide regular updates to its consumers through various social media platforms.