As it grapples with supply constraints which have forced it to reintroduce rolling blackouts, Eskom on Thursday confirmed protest action outside six of its power stations with marchers blocking the roads leading to them.
Eskom spokesman Sikonathi Mantshantsha confirmed the demonstrations at six coal-fired power stations, namely Duvha, Hendrina, Matla and Arnot in Mpumalanga as well as Medupi and Matimba in Limpopo.
The protests have coincided with stage 2 rotational power cuts which the state-owned utility says will remain in place until Sunday due to the breakdown of four generation units which contributed to existing capacity constraints.
Mantshantsha told the Mail & Guardian that the reason for the protest was the wage talks between Eskom and labour unions which deadlocked this week. He did not respond to a question about whether the targeted stations had been affected.
“We understand these unprotected protest actions to be related to that,” Mantshantsha said.
Business Day reported that Eskom is offering a one-year pay hike deal with increases of 5.3%, 4.5% and 4% for its 28 374 employees in the bargaining unit. Unions staged a walkout during negotiations, it said.
Mantshantsha said there had been some incidents of intimidation, adding that although the protesters had been largely peaceful to date, police had been alerted.
Anathi Madubela is an Adamela Trust business reporter at the M&G.
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