Eskom has ‘backup plan’ ahead of Thursday’s labour shut down

Joint press briefing by NUmsa and Num on Eskom strike. Photo: Numsa

Eskom has a contingency plan for the workers’ demonstration planned for Thursday.

Eskom employees affiliated to the national union of metalworkers of SA and national union of mineworkers plan to down tools on Thursday as part of the bigger campaign to shut down Eskom over a salary dispute.

Workers are demanding a 15 percent salary increase, while the employer insists that it is cash-strapped and could not offer a pay hike.

“Due to the difficult financial situation that the company currently faces, Eskom has decided to offer no salary increases this year,” spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe said.

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Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim said the unions were enraged by Eskom’s no-increase decision. The unions will, however, first exhaust all options available before resorting to a full-blown strike.

“We have scheduled pickets during lunchtime in different parts of the country where workers will demonstrate their disgust with Eskom for their provocative stance,” he said.

“And on Thursday there will be a big demonstration at Megawatt park.”

It was not yet clear how the demonstrations would affect power supply

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However, Eskom said it would have measures in place to deal with the likelihood of these actions leading to a power failure in some areas.

“In an effort to ensure the security of power supply, Eskom will activate its contingency measures should the industrial action take place,” Phasiwa said.

He said the labour action was illegal.

Eskom has been designated as an essential service provider; therefore, our employees are reminded that they are not allowed to participate in strike actions.”

The two unions have promised to “shut down” the power utility.

In a joint press briefing, the unions said they were angered by a zero pay increase.

Jim said Eskom should reduce the number of managerial stuff.

Eskom senior managers are responsible for the financial crisis at the state-owned entity. If jobs are to be cut, they should start by cutting down the bloated executive, which is made up of approximately 500 people.”

Last week the South African federation of trade unions said Eskom had plans to retrench about 10 000 workers in the next three years.

Phasiwe said there were no plans to retrench “at this stage”.

“At this stage, they have not mentioned anything about retrenchments. If tomorrow something happens to me they are not going to advertise my post, but will get someone from inside Eskom. That’s how they are going to reduce the number of employees gradually.”

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  AUTHOR
Robinson Nqola

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