Eskom ‘will keep lights on’ over strike

Image: Dean Hutton/Bloomberg

Eskom said yesterday it has contingency measures in place to keep the lights on in the event that planned industrial action tomorrow – in protest against a wage freeze at the cash-strapped energy utility – goes ahead.

Organised labour at the power utility has called on the government to do everything to ensure that Eskom is able to increase employees’ wages – or “the lights will switch off”.

The National Union of Mineworkers and the National Union of Metalworkers of SA said yesterday they would declare a dispute at the Commission for Conciliation‚ Mediation and Arbitration.

Wage talks at Eskom deadlocked last week following its failure to table a wage increase offer.

Unions demanded increases of between 9% and 15%, and said yesterday that they would hold lunchtime pickets today.

The situation at the company remains dire‚ although a turnaround strategy is on the cards.

Eskom ran out of cash late last year. It has a huge debt burden of R350-billion‚ increasing by about R70-billion a year. It said yesterday that it could not meet worker demands.