Unions to Ramaphosa: 'Don't retrench while saving Eskom'

During his State of the Nation Address in Parliament on Thursday, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the power utility will be split into three parts.

FILE: President Cyril Ramaphosa answers questions in Parliament. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - Labour unions are sending a stern warning to government not to shed jobs while it tries to rescue cash-strapped Eskom.

During his State of the Nation Address in Parliament on Thursday, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the power utility will be split into three parts.

Unions view the move as the state declaring war on workers.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu)'s President Zingiswa Losi said the president urgently needs to explain what implications this will have on employees.

He said: “And we are looking forward to engaging with the president because the centre of all restructuring and retrenchments was that Cosatu was not going to accept any retrenchments. Cosatu is having a national strike on 13 February.”

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa says this will also have an impact on petrol prices.

Spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said: "History has shown us that once the private sector is allowed to step in, the prices increase and massive job shedding is inevitable. The ANC and its cronies have looted and destroyed Eskom and now they have identified privatisation as a convenient cover-up for more than two decades of rampant corruption.”

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(Edited by Mihlali Ntsabo)