JOHANNESBURG: Eskom workers from the National Union of Metalworkers SA (Numsa) and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) wants a 15% increase.
According to Analyst, Eskom cannot “plead poverty” while corruption at the power utility continues. This follows Eskom’s offer of 0% increases for all of its 47 000 workers, sparking outrage from unions who threatened to shut down the power utility on Thursday.
Eskom workers from the National Union of Metalworkers SA (Numsa) and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) wants a 15% increase. Workers marched on Eskom’s offices around the country handing over memoranda to managers. According to TimesLive, the situation became volatile by Thursday afternoon.
Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe reportedly said that “intimidation” and road blockages were taking place at most Eskom power stations and regional offices. Power supply at Eskom headquarters in Johannesburg had been “mysteriously” cut off, Phasiwe said.
Eskom reportedly said it cannot guarantee the security of electricity supply this week. According to TimesLive, Eskom has a debt burden of R350-billion a year which increases by R70-billion a year.
On POWER Update on Thursday afternoon, Ted Blom, mining and energy analyst said the power utility can afford to pay its workers if it “cleans up its act”.
He said the unions and the workers are not responsible for Eskom’s financial problems and should not be punished for it. Blom said the blame for the crisis Eskom finds itself in must be “placed squarely” on the board, the previous boards, and Eskom’s executive management.
“I find it very difficult to hold unions responsible for management’s problem. I have a lot of sympathy for the unions. We all have expenses. We all need increases…. Eskom can’t plead poverty in the face of allowing corruption to continue,” Blom said.