CAPE TOWN, July 30 – Eskom on Monday said South Africans should expect load shedding after workers at some of its plants downed tools amid tensions between the power utility and trade unions over the payment of performance bonuses for the past financial year.
“Customers are advised to plan on the assumption that load shedding will take place and are encouraged to check their load shedding schedules on the Eskom and their municipal website,” Eskom said in a statement.
The state-owned electricity utility said the industrial action had a negative impact on operations at several power stations.
“This includes acts of intimidation, sabotage and obstruction of access controls for personnel,” the statement said.
“While the risk of load shedding remains high during this period Eskom has activated all its emergency structures.”
Eskom said it had alerted the SA Police Service.
“We rely on their expertise to maintain order and to enable safe access to power stations as these are National Key Point.
Eskom said it was talking to union leaders to try and negotiate an end to the impasse.
Workers are demanding 12 percent of their annual salaries as a once-off bonus as part of the wage negotiations which has yet to resolved two months after it started.
At a meeting of the Central Bargaining Forum last week, unions indicated they would not settle unless the demand for bonuses is addressed.
The parties agreed to reconvene this coming Friday after the talks yielded no agreement.
“Eskom is disappointed that the employees through their trade unions resorted to disrupt operations today,” the power utility said.
“Eskom would also like to remind all employees that the organisation has 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.” (ANA)