Johanensburg - The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has "noted with anger" Nersa's approval of tariff increases for Eskom of 24.8% this year, 25.1% in 2011 and 25.9% in 2012.
"These increases are more than four times the current rate of inflation and totally unacceptable," Cosatu said in a statement.
"The rises will still have all the severe negative impacts that Eskom's proposed outrageous 35% a year tariff increase would have had. Individual consumers, especially the poor, who pay more per unit than the big wealthy users, will be hit hard at a time when they are struggling with other rising costs," the trade union organisation said.
"The economy will be hit with a rise in inflation, which will jeopardise the chances of a recovery from the economic recession.
"Many businesses which are already struggling to survive will not be able to afford such a massive increase in one of their biggest running costs. Jobs could be lost, fewer new jobs will be created and many firms may even be forced to close down."
Cosatu said it will engage with its alliance partners and continue to fight these increases through Nedlac.
"We shall insist that government, and not the poor consumers, should bear the cost of Eskom's capital expenditure on new infrastructure, which their predecessor failed to provide in the 1990s when Eskom warned that this money was necessary.
"If no progress is made in these discussions, the federation will not shrink from mobilising its members, and the wider South African public, in strike action and protests in the streets against such a savage attack on our living standards and economic future," it concluded.
- I-Net Bridge