Eskom has warned of possible load shedding this week following industrial action by trade unions. File picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/ Reuters

Kimberley - Eskom has warned of possible load shedding this week following industrial action by trade unions.
The power utility said on Monday that there was ongoing industrial action by trade unions at various Eskom sites over the issue of performance bonuses for the 2017/18 financial year.

“The current industrial action has negatively impacted plant operations at several power stations,” Eskom said in a statement issued on Monday afternoon. “This includes acts of intimidation, sabotage and obstruction of access controls for personnel.

“While the risk of load shedding remains high during this period Eskom has activated all its emergency structures. Eskom is also urgently engaging union leaders to resolve this impasse.”

Reports were received that coal trucks were hijacked and employees intimidated at some of its power stations on Monday morning.

According to the utility’s Khulu Phasiwe, the problems started at the Duvha Power Station in Mpumalanga on Monday morning.

“There were acts of intimidation at several power stations, these including Duvha Power Station where a coal truck was hijacked, its contents were dumped at the entrance of the power station, essentially prohibiting movement in and out of the station.”

According to Eskom, the police were called in to deal with the incidents. “We rely on their expertise to maintain order and to enable safe access to power stations as these are National Key Points.”

Customers were advised “to plan on the assumption that load shedding will take place and are encouraged to check their load shedding schedules on the Eskom website and their municipal website”.

“The industrial action is as a result of Eskom and the trade unions not finding each other at the Central Bargaining Forum (CBF) last week Friday, where the unions planned to provide feedback on the wage offer Eskom tabled on July 17, 2018. On July 27, 2018, the parties met and deliberated on the wages and the additional demand for bonuses and jointly resolved to reconvene on Friday, August 3, 2018, for further talks. Eskom is disappointed that the employees, through their trade unions, resorted to disrupt operations today.”

Eskom reminded employees that the organisation had been designated as an essential service provider, “and as such employees are prohibited from participating in any form of industrial action that will further hurt the country, its people and the economy”.

The power utility undertook to provide updates on any developments.

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