Eskom, unions to resume wage talks

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CAPE TOWN, June 15 – Eskom and three key trade unions on Friday agreed to resume stalled wage talks, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said.

The power utility also agreed to withdraw its zero percent wage increase offer, Gordhan said.

The agreement was reached at a meeting between the Eskom board and representatives of the National Union of Mineworkers, the National Union of Metalworkers of South African and Solidarity.

Gordhan said Eskom and the unions agreed that the power outages of the past two days brought on by the labor dispute “are not beneficial to either party nor to the country and the economy”.

They agreed to a process to resume negotiations with immediate effect, he said, adding: “It was agreed that the 0 percent offer from Eskom is off the table.”

Trade unions last week walked away from the negotiating table and accused Eskom of bad faith after it insisted that there would be no wage hike. Eskom has, in turn, blamed load-shedding, which began on Thursday and continued on Friday, on sabotage by striking workers.

The three unions and the embattled power producer also undertook to “normalize operations immediately and restore production in order to ensure the security of electricity supply”.

Gordhan urged both sides to ensure that power supply is fully restored.

He said they had undertaken to build a better relationship following the wage negotiations.

“The minister wishes to thank all the parties for the constructive engagement and calls on all parties to play their part in ensuring that electricity supply is restored,” his office said in a statement.

– African News Agency (ANA)