Eskom has denied utterances that 7 000 jobs were on the line. Photo: IOL

CAPE TOWN - The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said on Thursday that it was "deeply angered" by Eskom's decision to retrench 7 000 workers in the next five years through voluntary packages.

This comes after reports that a senior manager at the state-owned power utility said that it was struggling to emerge from a financial crisis and expected to have 7 000 less staff in five years. 

However, Eskom has denied the utterances by its senior manager.

Eskom spokesperson Dikatso Mothae said: “Marion was referring to natural attrition. We don’t have any plans to retrench staff.” 

The power utility has been butting heads with trade unions Numsa and NUM over their demand for higher wages, which were accompanied by acts of intimidation and violence at their power stations.

NUM said: "It is shocking that a parastatal takes such a decision without thorough consultation with the NUM." 

"Eskom is now implementing the 2007 outdated World Bank study on reasonable staffing levels at Eskom, which suggest that Eskom is overstaffed by 66 percent as such it needs 14 244 staff complement. This study fails to consider the developmental role of parastatals in South Africa, the growth of the business and its customer base.

"This bad news comes at the heels of retrenchment announcement in government departments. It is an open attack on the working class and the poor. We call upon all workers in the country to unite and embark on a mammoth battle against this cancer," said NUM. 

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- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE