The National Union of Mineworkers (Num) has refuted claims that labour unions at Eskom are responsible for the power cuts this week when stage six rolling blackouts were announced.
Num, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and Solidarity have accepted a 7% wage increase.
NUM spokesperson Livhuwani Mammburu says even if labour unions agreed to a wage offer from the power utility, it will not end rolling blackouts.
“I don’t think the workers are the ones who caused it. Rolling blackouts have been there. Our members are not responsible for stage six. As we speak, Eskom is busy shutting down units and power stations like Nkomati and many other power stations.”
“We don’t know why they are not putting them online. We will see from now on by signing this agreement if rolling blackouts are going to end. When the CEO [Andre De Ruyter] was appointed, he promised South Africans that rolling blackouts would end in 28 months and that has not happened. We still see rolling blackouts,” says Mammburu.
The video below is the full interview with Num Livhuwani Mammburu:
Latest wage increase unaffordable
Eskom says the latest wage offer to workers is going to cost the power utility over a billion rand.
The agreement also includes the reinstatement of changes to conditions of service and a R400 increase to the housing allowance.
Human Resources Executive at Eskom Elsie Pule says, “I think from an Eskom point of view, these were very prolonged engagements, they were not easy. I must put it on record that the offer that we signed today, we actually can’t afford it as an organisation.”
“We need to make plans to find additional money to fund this agreement. The impact on our wage bill is in excess of a billion.”
In the video below, unions update the media on the wage agreement: