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Eskom warning system not adequate - Seifsa

Jan 28 2015 14:38
Matthew le Cordeur

Cape Town – The biggest challenge facing the steel and engineering industries impacted by load shedding was the lack of predictability due to slow warning systems, according to its federation.

Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa (Seifsa) industrial relations executive Gordon Angus told Fin24 that Seifsa was in discussion with Eskom regarding contingencies and strategies to make load shedding more predictable and more conducive to production planning.

“There has not been a lot of leeway made in terms of the predictability of load shedding,” he said.

READ: LIVE: Eskom starts stage 1 load shedding

“While the schedules are published and there is warning given by Eskom or the municipalities … when load shedding may occur, it’s very difficult for the power producers to give any sort of advanced warning as to when load shedding is going to kick in,” he said.

“It creates a very difficult environment in which to operate in from a production point of view,” he said.

Labour relations during load shedding

Should employers arrive at work to find that there is no power due to load shedding, employees that form part of Seifsa may be sent home with a minimum of four hours pay for the day, which equates to half a shift worth of payment.

“There are ways for companies to reach agreements around more intricate details at company level,” said Angus. “That’s what many employers did when we experienced load shedding for the very first time back in 2008 and I’m sure that’s what a lot of employers will seek to be doing in the coming months.”

Fin24 user Emily Taukobong is feeling the brunt: "I work in a factory in Pretoria where the policy is no work, no pay. I spend R60 daily for transport to & from work. Yesterday & today we were sent back home because of load shedding. We will therefore not get paid for those 2 days - after spending all that money for nothing. Really now, Eskom you're killing us!"

Listen the podcast interview with Gordon Angus:


Seifsa recommends that management adopt the following course of action in dealing with load shedding:

- where power is cut and management takes a decision to send employees home, then employees must be paid a minimum of four hours’ pay;

- should management require employees to remain at work until the power is restored, then employees must be paid in full;

- regardless of the fact that management has sent employees home, they will still be credited with a shift for the purpose of leave pay and leave enhancement pay calculations.

“The definition of short time has been amended to cater for the differentiation between planned or foreseen load shedding as opposed to unplanned or unforeseen load shedding,” Seifsa said.

“This means that where short time has not been implemented in response to planned or foreseen load shedding and employees report for work and are sent home by the employer, they will be entitled to eight hours payment.”

“For further information, please contact the Industrial Relations Division on 011 298 9400 or visit www.seifsa.co.za"

- Follow Matthew on Twitter

eskom  |  seifsa  |  electricity  |  load shedding  |  small business
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