Eskom: No danger of strike

There is no danger of a strike at Eskom while salary talks continue, the power utility said on Monday.

“Any strike that may occur will be illegal and unprotected from the participants,” Eskom managing director of human resources Bhabhalazi Bulunga said.

“I don’t think these three unions [National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, the National Union of Mineworkers and Solidarity], being major players, would violate the law willingly.”

Numsa spokesperson Castro Ngobese on Monday threatened a strike if Eskom didn’t make a new wage offer.

“Our members have wanted to strike all along.”

According to Ngobese this would mean 27 500 of Eskom’s 30 000 workforce would not report for work.

Bulungu dismissed this threat.

“It’s positioning, it’s beating war drums ... It’s their vuvuzela.”

Bulungu said he was not aware of Numsa’s ultimatum, and said negotiations with unions would continue. However, no further meetings were scheduled for Monday.

Eskom is offering an 8% increase while unions are insisting on 9%.

Eskom referred the matter to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration for compulsory negotiations after talks did not produce a deal on Thursday night.

Bulungu was, however, positive an agreement may be reached soon with the major issue being a housing allowance.

“Even though there is generally an agreement from last week, we have agreed to talk about the housing allowance. In principle there is an agreement on the housing allowance, the issue is the quantity.”—Sapa

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