Cape Town - Power utility Eskom has a commitment from trade unions that the power supply will not be disrupted due to ongoing wage talks, its chief executive said on Thursday.
The National Union of Mineworkers (Num) is demanding a 16% wage hike for its members at the utility and has threatened strike action to ensure its demands are met.
“We’ve started the negotiation process and we will make sure we deal with that in the best interest of Eskom and the best interest of the South African electricity consumer,” Brian Dames
told Reuters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum for Africa meeting.
“It’s very important we don’t impact the power system and I have commitments from the trade unions that that will not happen.”
He said it was important to balance the needs of the company, which needs billions of dollars to build new generating capacity and that of electricity consumers to ensure there was no interruption to power supply.
In 2008, a near collapse of the national grid forced mines and smelters to shut their operations for days, costing the economy billions of dollars in lost output.