Wage strike ends as Eskom and unions reach an agreement - Gordhan

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said the intimidation by striking workers had seen the country plunged into darkness and saw the property of managers and the utility destroyed.

FILE: Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan. Picture: Eyewitness News.

JOHANNESBURG - Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said an agreement had been reached with unions to bring the strike at Eskom to an end.

He said the wildcat, unlawful strike was primarily responsible for the stage 6 load shedding that was crippling the country.

“As a result of extensive negotiations between some of the unions and the management at Eskom, earlier today, and agreement was reached on the wage settlement that both parties will commit themselves to in due course.”

Eskom announced stage six earlier in the afternoon, saying it was battling with capacity.

Gordhan said the intimidation by striking workers had seen the country plunged into darkness and saw the property of managers and the utility destroyed.

“The intimidation is completely unacceptable, and is primarily responsible for the country being where it is today and possibly tomorrow.”

But he said the situation should return to normal soon: “In the few hours that I spent at Eskom today, I was given the assurance that everything will be done to bring the country to normality as far as the supply of electricity if concerned sooner rather than later.”

At the same time, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the National Unions of Metal Workers of South Africa (Numsa) have confirmed that they were able to secure a new offer from Eskom.

In a joint statement, the unions said: “NUM and Numsa can inform the public and our members at Eskom that the bilateral meeting this morning has registered considerable progress in that negotiations have been able to break new ground with a new offer, which will be tabled at the Central Bargaining Forum (CBF) this coming Friday, 1 July 2022.”

Both unions have urged their members to return to work on Wednesday pending the presentation of the new wage offer on Friday.

“In light of these developments, we call on workers at Eskom to normalise the situation given that Eskom has returned to the negotiating table. We are calling on our members to give this process and the CBF meeting on Friday the necessary chance to settle the current dispute.”