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Eskom unions lower wage offer to 9%, high risk of load shedding tonight

The unions met with Eskom on Thursday to discuss their counteroffer after they rejected the utility's four-year offer of a 4.7% increase this year and an inflation-based increase for thereafter.

Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Unions involved in the Eskom strike say there's been no breakthrough in talks with the utility and they've confirmed lowering their joint offer to 9%.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), Solidarity and National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) met with Eskom on Thursday to discuss the union's counteroffer after they rejected the utility's four-year offer of a 4.7% increase this year and an inflation-based increase for thereafter.

Employees affiliated with the unions have been on strike since last week.

Numsa's Irvin Jim says they are waiting for Eskom to make the next move.

“We can confirm that we have moved from 10% to 9%, Eskom has not responded almost on all the issues that we have put on the table. Which is why we said it is not in our interest, on every issue we respond because we have taken a packaged approach in handling issues.”

LOAD SHEDDING

Eskom says there's the probability of load shedding between 5 pm and 9 pm remains high but will only be implemented if necessary.

South Africans are being urged to use electrical devices sparingly to avoid outages.

Eskom's Khulu Phasiwe said: “We continue to monitor the situation, but we’re much better compared to the other three days. We urge communities to just continue using electricity efficiently while we continue with our recovery plan.”

'AMICABLE SOLUTION'

Parliament's Public Enterprises Committee has called on Eskom and unions compromise on a wage deal that will ensure the utility’s long-term sustainability.

Committee Chairperson Lungi Mnganga-Gcabashe is appealing to all parties involved to find an amicable solution as soon as possible.

“We’re calling on all parties to continue with the negotiations for the benefit of the unions, workers and management of Eskom as well as the citizens of South Africa… the sooner the better.”

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)