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Numsa plans Eskom protests

Johannesburg - The National Union of Mineworkers of SA (Numsa) will demonstrate over wage increases at Eskom plants next week, it said on Thursday.

“Come hell or high water, the Numsa national executive committee... resolved that Numsa members in Eskom must join a protest march on (Tuesday),” deputy general secretary Karl Cloete said.

The union is demanding a one-year wage increase agreement from the power utility of 12 percent across the board and a housing allowance of R1000.

Other demands include a 16 percent incentive scheme and a standby allowance of R100.

Eskom reportedly offered 5.6 percent, but it would not confirm this.

“Eskom wishes to advise that salary negotiation matters are confidential issues between it and its recognised trade unions,” it said on Thursday.

As such, the company would not disclose details of the negotiations to the media.

Eskom said disagreement over salary increases and conditions of service led to the matter being referred to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration (CCMA).

Cloete said Numsa would not be dissuaded from pursuing industrial action despite threats of mass dismissals if its members at Eskom embarked on an unprotected strike.

“Eskom is unwilling to consider the fact that not everyone employed at Eskom... can be regarded as an essential service worker.”

Because Eskom is designated an essential service provider, workers are prohibited from striking.

“We are quite willing to risk unprotected action. This time around, Numsa members in Eskom shall not be deterred by the so-called essential service provisions, behind which Eskom is hiding. This is no empty threat.”

Fitch ratings agency recently downgraded Eskom's credit rating from stable to negative.

Eskom declared a number of power emergencies recently and deliberate power cuts were imposed earlier this month due to constrained power supply. - Sapa

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