Eskom strike may hit fans
Fin24

Eskom strike may hit fans

2010-06-29 22:39

Johannesburg – The largest union representing Eskom workers has decided to go ahead with a strike next week, which may leave households and businesses in the dark during the World Cup.

The National Union of Mineworkers' (NUM) leaders have voted on Thursday to go on strike at Eskom from next week.

Eskom human resources managing director Bhabhalazi Bulungu said the public utility was waiting for formal communication from NUM and was still holding out hope of meeting the union on Wednesday.

Eskom would continue to seek dialogue while trying to prevent a strike.

"There are many options we can do. We can go to court again for an interdict.

"We will continue to talk to them. We will talk to the highest leadership in the (Eskom) board. We will go to the chairperson of the board. We talk to the minister (of public enterprises)."

If the NUM did strike, Bulungu said Eskom would be prepared.

"We will take measures to ensure the security of the supply."

A strike during the World Cup is unlikely to hamper electricity supply to stadiums that have standby diesel generators, but may anger millions hoping to watch matches on television.

Worse still for the economy, manufacturers and mining companies in the world's top platinum and fourth-largest gold producer could be forced to shut operations, affecting prices.

The rand also took a hit on Tuesday amid jitters ahead of the NUM vote. Traders expect the union’s decision to go ahead with the strike will weigh on the local market.

Negotiations between NUM and Eskom have broken down over demands of a wage increase and housing allowance.

Seshoka said Eskom's most recent offer was for an 8.5% increase and a R1 000 housing allowance.

Unions had been insisting on a nine percent increase and a R2 500 housing allowance. Seshoka said the NUM would have been willing to compromise on the wage increase if management had acceded to their housing allowance demand.

"They've rejected the 8.5% and the R1 000 housing allowances. If you want 8.5% then the housing allowance has to be R2 500."

Bulungu said earlier that Eskom was planning meetings with the public utility's other unions, Solidarity and the National Union of Metalworkers, on Wednesday.

They would also try and get a meeting with the NUM. Seshoka dismissed this possibility.

"I don't see how they can at this point meet (on Wednesday)."

If all three unions striked, some 27 500 of Eskom's 30 000 workforce would not report for work.
  
- Sapa and Reuters 

Comments
  • Gunnar - 2010-06-29 23:34

    Nobody seems to realise the value of having a job!

  • mike - 2010-06-30 08:55

    After what appears to be a successful world cup, they want to do this right before the end. The mind boggles. This "only me" mentality of Africa is what will keep it down in a black hole.

  • Carin - 2010-06-30 09:00

    Just in time, in line with the increase handed down to the consumers. When will this stop. The innocent are always be held to ransom. Pay UP or you don't get electricity. Wonderful now the world can see what SA is made up of - blackmailers and extortionists. So sad but true!

  • Goe - 2010-06-30 09:25

    It's quite simple...if they strike...FIRE THEM!!! I'm sure there are MANY people who would take their job for the current pay.

  • rooikop - 2010-06-30 09:30

    maybe if management hadn't spent R12.5 million on world cup tickets, they could have given this money to their staff instead.

  • Tired of BS - 2010-06-30 09:48

    I am so tired of reading and hearing about strikes! These individuals who (like the security at the stadiums) cry for jobs, then when get the opportunity they want MORE MORE MORE! Would I be incorrect to say that NUM is holding the country at ransom threatening to strike during the SWC? Is this not reason - I say try them all for acts against the state!

  • DeonL - 2010-06-30 10:04

    Fire them when they strike as they are an essential service and are not allowed to strike. A lot of people need work and they will be easily replaced!

  • Shrek - 2010-06-30 10:23

    One of the benefits of hosting the SWC, is to market SA as a viable investment destination....there are hundreds of potential investors currently in SA. With this strike, no investor will consider investing their money in SA. Just proves that Cosatu never ever supported the SWC.

  • Carol - 2010-06-30 10:23

    So sick of paying for Public Workers insane pay increases! We in the private sector don't dare strike, don't get massive annual pay increases, and have to be grateful to have a job! Our Taxes are just wasted by these morons!

  • Jill - 2010-06-30 10:26

    Fire the lot of them and employ the thousands who are desperate for a job and who will work without getting involved with the damned unions. We will all benefit from this solution.

  • Bakhosibakhe - 2010-06-30 10:27

    Yes NUM strike, all SA management they don't care about employees, price increase cause as to live stressfully and they are paying as penuts. say no to penuts salary.

  • Hello World.... - 2010-06-30 10:37

    And Welcome to Africa!

  • Harald - 2010-06-30 10:52

    Big surprise!!! Wow.... These guys are so useless, they dont actually do any work!!

  • Tired - 2010-06-30 11:08

    Fire the lot of them, they don't want to work, they don't understand that Eskom doesn't have the money, they don't get the fact that is they get ridiculous increase the price of electricity will increase and then they will want a higher increase because of the cost of living. Idiots the lot of them. Get people in there that want to work and who appreciate having a job, not people that want to screw a company for everything it has.

  • Fanie - 2010-06-30 11:14

    Good grief they have a job they have income they KNOW the economy is not healthy, and now they want to make things worse - that said - these increases should be the same across board - from cleaner to CEO

  • Tracy - 2010-06-30 11:16

    Oh wow...another strike, what a surprise. It seems all they ever do is strike. There are thousands of jobless people who would jump at the opportunity to have a job but we pay useless people to hang around and sings songs the entire day. What a joke.

  • Ellie - 2010-06-30 11:32

    Dear Jill. I do not agere with you that all at eskom should be fired. Workers have for suffered too long. And its time that get properly awarded. If they (Eskom)can afford to pay an individual about 3 million rand for performance, and then fire him for poor performance, I think they can afford the demands of the workers, given the fact that they plan too increase tarrifs agin next year. As a company Eskom might have performed but the CEO did ot. so the workers deserve a pat on the back. given their 3.7 billion rand profit that was just reported. If any company negociate wages, it is best globally to have leverage. all the the other countries and companies why should n't we

  • Lebazi - 2010-06-30 12:37

    How many times in ONE year, can they strike for increases? This is absolutely rediculous. This is South Africa's downfall. Certain people do not want to work but they always want more money. All they can think about is to strike for money, strike for money, strike for money... money to buy booze...

  • Lesibana Chokoe - 2010-06-30 12:54

    Escom bosses are greedy. These employees are the ones who bring in profit to the organisation, but the profit only benefit the bosses. Why?

  • lebza - 2010-06-30 12:59

    these strikes don't really make sense.....

  • Denis2 - 2010-06-30 13:10

    @Ellie. Yes Eskom did make a profit - they had to because the tariff increases were meant to bring in a provision for new generating capacity. Yes they will be increasing tariffs next year - this too is to provide for increased generating capacity. These profits are required for capital development as opposed to running expenses in the short term. By demanding excessive remuneration you are shooting us all in the foot. By the same token management should not feel entitled to grant themselves exhorbitant increases, bonuses and allowances as these too only serve to worsen the situation. We need common sense to prevail now otherwise there will be no winners at all.

  • Barry - 2010-06-30 13:26

    We are heading for total self-destruction because, amongst others, unchecked materialism, hate, greed, jealousy, violence, intimidation, corruption and demagogues are ruling us. Not even the fact that they are rendering an essential service will stop the majority of workers of the country from striking or to lower their demands. They are set to ruin the economy and they will most probably succeed, if not in 2010 then next year or the following year. Something has to give. I hope they will in the process ultimately also destroy the SACP led ANC government of the day that perpetuated this situation through their shear incompetence........ Allow me to elaborate. SA is a country going through major social transition. The balance of power between State, employers and employees duly shifted since the 1980’s to benefit the workforce in general. There is an optimum level to everything. Today trade unions in SA clearly have gained too much political and economic clout. They are overplaying their hand with strike upon strike in almost all sectors. That together with intimidation and violence has become a much too common and very unwelcome phenomenon. There are many alternatives available that have to be exhausted by labour unions prior to calling a strike. One gets the impression that some labour unionists are not negotiating all the time in good faith. In the on-going process of power testing they are forced by political realities to be the clear cut victors year after year in order to establish and re-establish themselves as the “champions” of the "working class" and the “masses” to use those dehumanising terms. Their reasoning and vision have become seriously impaired by, amongst others, their successes of the past. They are not seeking a mutually beneficial agreement. Worker demands have over the years become more and more luxurious and we have most probably now reach the stage that the South-African work force must be comparatively one of the best remunerated in the developing word. This is not altogether a bad thing if productivity and returns on investment is also on par, which I am afraid are not the case. This hampers economic development. Under these circumstances slow growth or even a further disastrous decline in national employment figures are quite clearly indicated. The government of the day, business leaders as well as the labour unions are equally at fault. The negotiators representing employers especially in the semi-public and public sectors are also grossly underperforming. Their collective reluctance to decisively serve the best interest of the public is shocking, to say the least. An unfortunate spirit of materialism has taken a firm grip over the country that is destructive in many ways. However, the leadership in state and commerce and not the ordinary salaried workers or the millions of unemployed people of which many are living in shockingly poor squatter conditions, are the trendsetters that should first be brought to book before labour could be forced to back down on their demands and especially their standard violent modus operandi that has many times over the past two decades proved to be very effective. We will need extraordinary political leadership to do that and I do not see a person or political party on the horizon that will be able or willing to walk this tight rope in order to save us from perdition…..

  • Tshililo - 2010-06-30 13:41

    To all those who are saying "Fire Them", are just kidding themselves. Why are they called Essential Services employees? Because what they offer is very crucial and very important to our society. If all of them can strike for two days, SA will be in deed trouble. And the maskets will even feel it. Lets not fool ourselves by not respecting whats do to them. Otherwise we should encourage them to go back to Negotiation table and resolve this.

  • Allowance for all..! - 2010-06-30 13:48

    Housing allowance for managers, ..then housing allowance for ALL... ..Viva Strike, ..viva..

  • JC - 2010-06-30 14:59

    Here is a suggestion. Appreciate your jobs cause there are other people that would do anything to make a steady income but you are never satisfied with what you have. Typical... Now go on strike while we are hosting the Fifa world cup. How many businesses are going to suffer from not having power. But that doesn't concern you cause the only thing you care about are yourselves. I agree some things might be unfair towards you but wait until after the world cup and then strike or do whatever you want. This is a big chance for our land to grow financially. But that is just my opinion.

  • Motho - 2010-06-30 15:42

    Energy... Eskom employees are in the energy sector, why should'nt they be compensated as such?... Former CEO Maroga is demanding Rm85 as an individual, I'm sure he knows the money is there... Eskom bosses are stalling the talks because they are hiding behing the so called "essential supplies", which in reality, it does not exist. firing the lot will cause exponential damage and costs than good, what does anyone who suggests firing the lot know about electricity production, transmission and distribution?...this is shear ignorance and you know what happens to an ignorant nation... Did you know the majority of eskom employees can't afford to even service their bonds, they are homeless, they are not properly compesated for the sector on which they work. ESKOM BOSSES are indeed greedy, they've been in the gravy train for years now and it's time labour did something about it.

  • James - 2010-07-02 08:38

    Strike???Not when an international event is happening in the nation and first time in Africa.Dont be cowards trying to wage for an increase during this event.Its a shame and a disgust to the country and the continent as a whole that Eskom is bringing.Shame on you people...

  • Michelle - 2010-07-04 15:29

    Carol, you're spot on. I couldn't have said it better myself.

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