Numsa’s 'blackout' threats are serious: Eskom - CNBC Africa

Numsa’s 'blackout' threats are serious: Eskom

Southern Africa

by Trust Matsilele 0

Numsa has threatened a total blackout as its Eskom members demand wage increment. PHOTO: Shutterstock

“Numsa has offered a very serious threat of blackout as in addition to disturbing individual sites they would look at the national grid and sabotage it in some way,” Eskom spokesperson Andrew Etzinger told CNBC Africa.  

(READ MORE: Numsa's Eskom members set to down tools)

“It’s Numsa’s view that a strike action is the only way out of this, our view is that the road forward is the CCMA and through the process of dialogue, conciliation, mediation and if need be arbitration.”

Etzinger added that the power utility disputed Numsa’s preferred road forward.  

“Numsa themselves, last week applied to the CCMA that’s why it is surprising for us that they have taken this action. The CCMA route seems to be the most sensible way as you would find an independent arbitrator looking at the facts and help us through the process until settlement,” Etzinger said.

He added that Eskom employees were currently not on strike but noted that doing so would be illegal.

“If the Eskom employees would be on strike, it would be illegal, so to begin with they would be subject to 'No Work No Pay' and they would be taken through a disciplinary process,” Etzinger stated.

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“We are glad to say 99.9 per cent of our workers are at the workstations and are producing electricity, they have taken a responsible route which is not to resort to an illegal action. Where we are seeing strike activity is on the new built site, on the Medupi and Kusile sites by employees of the contractors.”

Kaizer Nyatsumba is the chief executive officer of the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa (Seifsa), explained that as of last night it would appear that the situation was set to be uglier than it already was.  

“There have been incidences of violence on a wider scale in the East Rand area and in other parts of the country. We find it deeply regretful that a spokesperson for Numsa, at a time when there is clear evidence on the ground of widespread violence would dare to say we are guilty of propaganda,” said Nyatsumba.

“We made the best possible offer we could have made, last night we moved by 25 per cent from eight per cent to 10 per cent where we currently stand, but the offer was not accepted.”

(WATCH VIDEO: Seifsa urges Numsa to be realistic)

Nyatsumba added that Seifsa would keep lines of communication open should Numsa leadership change their minds.

“We will keep our phones open if the leadership of Numsa is willing to talk, we will make ourselves available, we have done the best we could have possibly done,” he said.

(READ MORE: Industry remains positive as Numsa members down tools)

“What is becoming clearer to us is that things are more political than business as they are calling business to ban labour brokers which ideally should be done by government.”

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