Johannesburg - Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan revealed that Eskom has reached a wage agreement with workers during a virtual briefing held on Tuesday at the Eskom Control Centre following the implementation of stage 6 load shedding by Eskom from 4pm to 10pm.
Gordhan said: “An agreement was reached on the wage settlement. Agreement (was) reached that unions will request their members to return to work tomorrow. The recovery work will now start.”
Stage 6 load shedding was instituted as a result of an ongoing protest due to failed wage negotiations between Eskom and unions. This brought production at Eskom plants to a halt through intimidation of employees who were unable to show up to work as a result.
Gordhan said: “The illegal industrial action is the major cause of Stage 6. It has worsened the production of electricity.
“Stage 6 means 6 000MW cannot be provided by Eskom. The demand is about 32 000MW and Eskom can only supply 6 000MW less than that.”
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) represented by its general secretary, William Mabapa, and the leadership of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), represented by its general secretary, Irvin Jim, met with the Eskom leadership represented by group CEO Andre de Ruyter and the group executive human resources, Elsie Pule, on Monday and Tuesday and finally reached an agreement when Eskom returned to the negotiating table.
NUM and Numsa also confirmed this in a joint statement.
Part of the statement reads: “NUM and Numsa can inform the public and our members at Eskom that the bilateral meeting this morning has registered considerable progress in that negotiations have been able to break new ground with a new offer which will be tabled at the Central Bargaining Forum (CBF) this coming Friday, 1 July 2022.
“Given the fact that Eskom has finally agreed to return to the negotiating table and there is a new offer which will be formally presented on Friday in the CBF, NUM and Numsa leadership are calling on our members at Eskom to give the process of negotiations a chance.
“This includes a consultation process with workers themselves on the new offer that is a product of negotiations between the two unions and Eskom over the past two days to unlock the current deadlock.”
Gordhan and the power utility have urged that Eskom employees return to work and work hard towards the supply of enough energy to avert stage 6 load shedding on Wednesday evening.
“We are nowhere near to a total blackout. I’m hoping that all of us will work hard and collaborate so that we can avert Stage 6 tomorrow. Tomorrow the CEO will keep you informed in terms of returning units to full functionality,” said Gordhan.
The power system is expected to take time to recover despite employees returning to work as all maintenance work had to be put on hold as a result of the strike and itg is expected that the backlog will take time to clear.