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Eskom says many of its employees returned to work on Wednesday morning.

The power utility’s spokesperson, Sikonathi Mantshantsha, said “there are no incidents of protest action today”.

He said the details of a wage offer will be made known on Friday when negotiations resume.

National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) spokesperson Livhuwani Mammburu said they have called on members to normalise the situation while negotiations continue.

Asked if this means members would go back to work on Wednesday, Mammburu said it was difficult to say as the union did not sanction the strike.

“Members are the ones who decided to picket. The only thing we can do is to appeal to them to normalise the situation around power stations while we finalise [the wage talks] or negotiate with Eskom.

“The unions did not sanction the picketing, so if we speak on behalf of members, they will ask us who gave us a mandate. That is why we are appealing for our members to normalise the situation while we are negotiating,” he said.

In a joint statement released on Tuesday by NUM and the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), both unions said they have been able to break new ground with a new offer that will be tabled at the central bargaining forum (CBF) on Friday.

Eskom rolled out stage 6 load-shedding on Tuesday, citing the effect of the unprotected workers’ strike across its operations.

“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,” the unions said.

The unions have demanded public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan withdraws his comments about an agreement over wages at Eskom, saying “he is jeopardising talks by pre-empting the outcome”.

“We want to set the record straight. We have not come to any agreement with Eskom. An offer was tabled, which members are engaging on. For the next few days, we will be consulting members to find out if they accept the proposal. Our members have not had a chance to see the proposal.”



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