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Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

Police have been roped in to assist Eskom security with maintaining order at the power stations, the utility's spokesperson, Sikonathi Mantshantsha, said on Monday.

Mantshantsha said striking workers were picketing outside Eskom facilities‚ including the Kusile‚ Hendrina‚ Medupi and Lethabo power stations.

Some employees went on an unprotected strike last Tuesday after a deadlock in wage negotiations.

On Friday, Eskom was granted a court order stopping the unprotected strike at nine power stations and facilities. Incidents of intimidation of employees and blocking roads to power stations and facilities were reported. As a result‚ on Friday load-shedding was ramped up to stage 4 and Eskom said it would continue until Wednesday. However‚ the power utility warned the load-shedding stage could increase or decrease at short notice.

“We are operating under an unfavourable situation. It is not an ideal situation we find ourselves in and things can go either way when it comes to load-shedding‚” Mantshantsha said.

He said Eskom management was constantly in touch with union leaders and the good relationship management had with the union leaders was helping to calm workers in some situations.

Concerning the wage increase demands‚ Mantshantsha said Eskom found the demands unaffordable and had referred the matter to the Commission for Conciliation‚ Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).

Business Day reported last week that the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) and National Union of Mineworkers‚ which represent most of Eskom’s workforce of about 42‚300 workers‚ wanted a one-year‚ 15% pay rise across the board‚ while Solidarity was demanding a 5.5% overall increase.

Numsa has since reduced its demand to 12%. The newspaper said Eskom was offering a one-year pay hike deal for increases of 5.3%‚ 4.5% and 4% for its 28‚374 employees in the bargaining unit. Employees in the bargaining unit are spread across different salary scales.

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