Eskom eases job loss fears over closure of coal stations

The power utility has given employees the assurance that it will do everything possible not to shed jobs.

FILE: Eskom's Megawatt Park in Johannesburg. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom has given employees the assurance that it will do everything possible not to shed jobs as it plans to close down five coal stations in Mpumalanga.

The utility is phasing out the Grootvlei, Kriel, Camden, Hendrina and Komatipoort power stations over the next five years to accommodate renewable independent power producers.

On Thursday, workers affiliated to the National Union of Mineworkers handed over a memorandum to the electricity giant, asking the employer to withdraw its decision with immediate effect.

Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe says: “We will do everything possible to avoid job losses. If it comes to that we might actually move them around within our power stations.”

Meanwhile, the union has given Eskom a week to respond to its concerns over possible job cuts.

During his State of the Nation Address in February, President Jacob Zuma said government was committed to the Independent Power Procurement Programme.

The president said the programme would be expanded to other sources, including coal and gas, in addition to renewable energy sources.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)