Eskom not moving from its 'no wage increase' stance

Eskom headquarters, MegaWatt Park, Johannesburg

Headquarters of Eskom, Megawatt park, north of Johannesburg. Eskom generates approximately 95% of the electricity used in South Africa and approximately 45% of the electricity used in Africa.

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom says it can’t move from its ‘no wage increase’ stance.

The power utility says it’s not financially healthy enough.

Unions have embarked on protest action in their quest for a fifteen percent wage increase.

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“Is zero percent sustainable or not. If we are saying we are willing to entertain a discussion with an independent person from the CCMA it means we are willing to meet again and assess the situation,” said Phakamani Hadebe, Eskom Group CEO.

A stalemate at the power utility has resulted in unions, the National Union of Mineworkers and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa and Solidarity to approach the CCMA for arbitration.

Workers started with industrial action at power stations in Mpumalanga.

Hadebe, says he can’t say electricity generation won’t be affected.

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“If  the workers at Eskom abide by the Constitution and avoid the scurmishes that happened today we can say electricity generation won’t be affected but if what happened today continues then we can’t say electricity generation won’t be affected,” said Hadebe.

Eskom’s Thava Govender echoes Hadebe and says some workers are being intimidated.

“Some workers have been intimidated and threatened…has reduced the number of staff on site.We can’t give a guarantee that generation has not been affected and that we can’t supply the demand for electricity,” said Govender, Head of Generation at Eskom.

The power utility is facing turbulent times with labour relations. Workers will be picketing outside the headquarters at MegaWatt Park.

An independent arbitrator from the CCMA has been brought in to break the current impasse between the unions and the power utility.