SA May Not Suffer Under Eskom Strike

6 August 2009 (Last Updated August 6th, 2009 18:30)

Contingency plans and a regulation that bans Eskom employees from striking could thwart the after-effects of Eskom’s power strike in South Africa, Eurasia Group said. South Africa’s biggest union at Eskom, the National Union of Mineworkers, threatened to go on strike this week after Es

Contingency plans and a regulation that bans Eskom employees from striking could thwart the after-effects of Eskom’s power strike in South Africa, Eurasia Group said.

South Africa’s biggest union at Eskom, the National Union of Mineworkers, threatened to go on strike this week after Eskom handed down an 8% wage hike, 6% less than workers demanded.

But despite the large number of union employees hired by Eskom, Eurasia UK-based analyst Mike Davies told news service Bloomberg that a potential strike due to wage discussions will probably have little effect on power supply.

He said that most employees are by law not allowed to strike and are supposed to provide vital services to keep the nation running.

However the strike could trigger or increase unexpected power failures and decelerate repair work.

Eskom’s spokesman Fani Zulu told Bloomberg the company plans to conduct negotiations with unions tomorrow.

In January 2008, the country’s power supply system and nearly all smelters and mines almost broke down due to inadequate power production.