Load shedding and salaries: the truth behind the Eskom crisis

Load shedding and salaries: the truth behind the Eskom crisis

- Eskom has blamed striking workers and acts of sabotage for the return of load shedding

- The power utility is embroiled in a fight with unions over wage increases and has warned that load shedding could last for another 10 days

- Meanwhile, a leaked document has revealed the salaries of Eskom employees who belong to the bargaining unit fighting for a 15% increase

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South Africans have returned to the dark days of 2008 when load shedding became a part of life. Last week Eskom started load shedding across the country, this time the power utility blames striking workers and acts of sabotage for failing to keep the lights on.

This latest crisis to hit Eskom is rooted in a bitter wage dispute currently being fought by unions representing around 37 000 workers and the power utility itself. This comes after Eskom management announced that there would be no salary increases or bonus payments this year.

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The announcement angered unions who are demanding a 15% increase for their members, talks broke down between union representatives and Eskom’s management team. The matter was referred to the CCMA.

Briefly.co.za gathered that while Eskom employees are officially classified as providing essential services and therefore legally prohibited from striking, some workers embarked on industrial action and even intimidated colleagues who refused to join the strike.

The result of this strike has officially been blamed for load shedding. Thesouthafrican.com reported that Eskom has confirmed that load shedding is likely to occur on Monday and said it expected load shedding to continue for at least the next ten days.

Eskom has warned consumers that the likelihood of load shedding was at its highest between the hours of 17:00 and 21:00.

Eskom released a statement which read: “The estimated ten-day prognosis for full restoration is due to the effects of the industrial action which interrupted continuous processes at the power plants. These processes have now to be cleared out and restarted which would take additional time.”

Meanwhile, a leaked document reported by moneyweb.co.za shows a table of exactly how much the striking Eskom employees earn.

According to this document the lowest paid employees at the power utility receive R11 282 per month before tax and other deductions are taken into account. This amount is also before any bonus schemes or overtime payments are included and is merely a basic salary.

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan stepped in on Friday and announced the 0% increase was being taken off the table and that he had instructed the Eskom board and management to meet with the unions and reopen wage negotiations.

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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