By Neelam Rahim
The country went a little darker yesterday when Eskom announced that load shedding would rise to stage six yesterday evening. Uber also said the utility lost ten units of stations, including Madupi, too, Tuktuka, and Kendall. Eskom’s acting head of generation, Roulani Matabula, said if employees return to duty soon, the entity would be able to restore the majority of capacity lost.
Radio Islam speaks to energy analyst Ted Blom.
“The whole issue of the current loadshedding has been precipitated by Eskom’s own poor, unethical behaviour which is the starting point. Eskom classified as an essential service. But it doesn’t help much when Eskom goes to the bargaining forum, the CBF, and walks out in the first meeting and says, we’re not talking any further. What do they expect labour to do?” says Ted.
Ted further Radio Islam, “This is an institution that has been running for many years. And escort did something very similar last year. There’s a deadlock and I’m involved with that court case regarding last year’s increases where Eskom got money from NURSA by 5.4%, but then didn’t give that money to the workers. They used it to pay bonuses and debt and all sorts of other stuff. So already there’s an acrimonious situation between labour and estimate. The part that the minister and the escalator leadership have not told the public that this has been precipitated by their own bad, unethical behaviour.”
Reports said that the striking workers were intimidating those who were not striking and were getting involved in acts of criminality. Also sharing thoughts about the court ruling declaring the strike illegal, Ted says, “Everybody knows the strike is illegal because the scheme is an essential service. What the people did, and of course, in any crowd, there are always some so called unruly elements.”
“But if you take away the ability to negotiate, you take away the ability to strike. Eskom walks out in bad faith. What do you expect them to stand around the power space and smile at you while the bullies are estimated to carry on doing whatever they want to do? There’s got to be an outlet of pressure valve one way or the other that allows workers to say, hey, guys, you are not going to the line. You may be the big bosses, but the fact of the matter is we are in a consultative marketing for them and we will set this out until we come to a solution.”
For more about this, listen to Radio Islam’s podcast below.