The National Union of Mineworkers in South Africa has threatened to completely shut down power across South Africa from next week at Eskom’s state power utility as part of its fight for better wages.

Of the Eskom workers at the plant, 16,000 are part of the union.

The South African economy is suffering as a result of the first economic downturn in almost two decades and the power strike could worsen the situation.

The nation’s mines have already been plagued by power outages in the past year and further blackouts could seriously affect business in the struggling nation.

Other unions across the country are also initiating strike action following the election of President Jacob Zuma in April this year. They want payback for their members following pre-election support.