Solidarity: Eskom departed prematurely from wage talks with workers

The state-owned power utility raised the load shedding level from stage 4 to stage 6 power cuts from 4pm to 10pm on Tuesday due to an unprotected strike at several of its power stations.

FILE: Solidaritys Helgard Cronje has reiterated that the trade union did not support the latest industrial action at some of the utility's power stations and called on its members not to participate. Picture: Xanderleigh Dookey-Makhaza/Eyewitness News.

JOHANNESBURG - Trade Union Solidarity said Eskom left the early stages of wage talks prematurely with workers affiliated to trade unions NUM and Numsa

The state-owned power utility raised the load shedding level from stage 4 to stage 6 power cuts from 4pm to 10pm on Tuesday due to an unprotected strike at several of its power stations.

On Wednesday morning, the struggling utility announced that many employees were peacefully returning to work with no reports of industrial action.

Solidarity's deputy general secretary, Helgard Cronjé, said Eskom approached to participate in wage negotiations from Friday going forward.

“We agreed to it, and we view it as a positive step that NUM [National Union of Mineworkers] and NUMSA [National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa] have agreed to return to the negotiating table with Eskom on Friday. Otherwise, we would have probably still experienced these unprotected protest and strike actions.”

Cronjé reiterated that the trade union did not support the latest industrial action at some of the utility's power stations and called on its members not to participate.

“Solidarity officially said during negotiations that we do not support any strike action or protest action with Eskom as they are in defence of service. So, we respect that fact, and any protest strike action will be illegal. So, we do not support that.”

In a statement, the utility said any wage offer would be made public when negotiations resume on Friday.