Eskom: Signing wage deal doesn't immediately end load shedding

The utility had for weeks blamed the rolling frequent power cuts on labour unrest as workers took part in unlawful strikes.

Union leaders and Eskom at the signing of the new deal on 5 July 2022. Picture: Theto Mahlakoana/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom on Tuesday said the conclusion of a new wage deal with workers did not mean load shedding would immediately come to an end.

The utility had for weeks blamed the rolling frequent power cuts on labour unrest as workers took part in unlawful strikes.

However, the relief South Africans have been hoping for will not come about immediately.

At a cost of R1 billion, Eskom has concluded a wage agreement with workers, which will see workers earning 7% more among other adjustments.

Eskom’s head of human resources Elsie Pule said the agreement would help lift some of the pressure from their maintenance backlog.

But the effects won’t be immediate: “It’s also going take a bit to bring some of the units back but we believe it will contribute to stabilising our operations.”

Numsa’s Irvin Jim said the power crisis had nothing to do with workers: “We think Eskom must take full responsibility. We understand what the public has been subjected to. There has been load shedding before we got to these negotiations.”

Over and above the 7%, workers will receive R400 housing allowance increases. Conditions of service that will be reinstated are double payments for overtime, accommodation, and transport when moving to new power plants.