An urgent court interdict was granted overnight to temporarily prevent Eskom from signing a deal that unions believe will lead to job losses and an increase in electricity prices.

The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) together with Transform RSA obtained the interdict at the High Court in Johannesburg on Monday night to prevent Eskom from concluding the outstanding renewable energy independent power producer (IPP) products‚ including the power purchase agreements.

Numsa and Transform RSA launched the late-night high court bid on Monday to urgently interdict Eskom from signing 27 IPP contracts on Tuesday‚ pending a full hearing by the high court.

Numsa said it joined the application with Transform RSA in order to protect the livelihoods of thousands of workers and their families.

"Numsa believes that the signing of these contracts would be detrimental for the working class of Mpumalanga and the country as a whole. The signing of the IPP means that Eskom will require less coal-fired electricity. This is likely to lead to the closure of the coal-fired power plants and the impact will be that at least 30,000 working class families will suffer because of job losses‚" the union said.

"The IPP roll-out will raise the cost of electricity dramatically‚ because IPP’s cost much more than coal-fired electricity."

Numsa added it was a recognised trade union at Eskom‚ and wanted the opportunity to make submissions to the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa)‚ Eskom and the energy minister on the IPP contracts and the implications for its members.

"Eskom was planning to sign these agreements despite the fact that a previous application‚ by the Coal Transporters Forum to interdict them from signing is still pending at the North Gauteng High Court. They were attempting to impose this deal on us without consultation‚ but we stopped them‚" said Numsa.

The matter has been set down for March 27 at the High Court in Johannesburg. "We are confident that the court will recognise that our rights have been violated and will look favourably on our application‚" said Numsa.