Labour protests could lead to higher stages of load shedding

Eskom has warned that labour protests that have caused operational disturbances, could lead to higher stages of load shedding.

In the past 24-hours, the power utility experienced protests at nine of its power stations and other operating facilities, by some of its employees who have embarked on unprotected strike action following a deadlock in wage negotiations on Tuesday.

Protests included incidents of the intimidation of working employees and blockading of roads leading to power stations and other facilities, inhibiting the free flow of personnel and commodities required for the generation of electricity and smooth operations.

“The increased unavailability of plant has necessitated an extensive usage of emergency generation reserves, which are depleting faster than can be replenished.

“Eskom cautions the public that should these criminal acts of intimidation persist or spread, this would increase the risk of operational disturbances and the implementation of load shedding at higher stages,” the utility said on Friday.

This as Stage 2 load shedding has been implemented since Monday and is expected to continue until Sunday.

The power utility added that ahead of these disturbances, the power system had already been under considerable strain for a while.

“The provision of electricity is an essential service in which industrial action is not permitted. The free movement of personnel and transportation of commodities in and out of power stations are essential to ensure smooth operations and to limit load shedding to current levels and below.”

Eskom appealed to labour partners and striking employees to embrace the higher purpose of putting the people of South Africa first, respect the law and to desist from illegal and undemocratic conduct.

“While exploring possible solutions to unlock the deadlock on the wage talks, Eskom has reported these acts of illegality to the South African Police Service (SAPS) and requested the assistance of the SAPS and other security services in restoring order.”

Eskom has thanked and acknowledged the majority of its employees, who are diligently performing their duties and many going beyond the call of duty.

Source: South African Government News Agency