South Africa: Eskom, Unions Reach Wage Agreement

Eskom says the wage agreement reached with unions on Tuesday will not immediately alleviate the burden of load shedding on the power system.

The power utility reached an agreement with unions of a 7% pay hike, following more than a week of intense strike action, which plunged the country into stage six load shedding.

“[The agreement] brings the Central Bargaining Forum (CBF) talks and the damaging, disruptive and costly wage dispute to an end, paving the way for a full return to work of all employees.

“Following this agreement, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) and Solidarity have urged their members to return to work immediately.

“It is important to note that while the workforce is returning to work, the system will still take some time to recover. As a result of the strike, maintenance work has had to be postponed, and this backlog will take time to clear,” Eskom said.

The power utility called on workers to return to power stations and begin work to stabilise the system.

“Eskom also wishes to urge all employees to return to their workstations immediately to relieve the pressure on the system and to deliver the service the people of South Africa expect from Eskom, and to assist in restoring generation performance negatively impacted by the unlawful strike.

“Eskom would like to pay tribute to and thank those many employees who keep going beyond the call of duty and continue to make personal sacrifices to help keep the lights on during this very challenging time,” the power producer said.

Meanwhile, the power utility has announced that load shedding will be reduced to stage five from 4pm to 10pm on Wednesday and Thursday.

The revised schedule is as follows on Wednesday:

Stage 4 from 5am to 4pm

Stage 5 from 4pm to 10pm

Stage 4 from 10pm to midnight

and on Thursday:

Stage 2 from midnight to 5am

Stage 4 from 5am to 4pm

Stage 5 from 4pm to 10pm

Stage 4 from 10pm to midnight

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