Eskom employees affiliated to the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) are planning to down tools on Thursday following a zero percent wage increase proposal by Eskom.
The new leadership at the utility is trying to turn its finances around by proposing the zero percent wage increase, but unions are saying Eskom's problems shouldn't be made into workers' problem.
Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe condemned any intimidation against workers who are committed to keeping the lights on.
He says there are threats of a strike action but the utility's focus is to ensure that the lights are kept on.
Eskom employees are considered an essential service and have been told not to go on strike. What will happen if they go ahead with the strike?
If it happens that some people dont pitch for work tomorrow, then it becomes the issue between the worker and their manager. When they do come back they going to have to explain themselves to their managers.— Khulu Phasiwe, Eskom spokesperson
Phasiwe says there are four power stations outside which people are currently picketing.
Starting from last night at about 21:00 at Maatla power station, there were about 15 people who were trying to blockade the road but we were able to call the public order police to handle the situation.— Khulu Phasiwe, Eskom spokesperson
Num spokesperson Livhuwani Mamburu says the unions will be meeting with Public Enterprise Minister Pravin Gordhan this afternoon to try find a solution the matter.
He says there's going to be a march on Thursday where a memorandum of grievances will be handed over to Eskom management.
We received a letter last night saying that we are not allowed to strike because we are an essential service. We are aware of that, but as NUM we have a mandate from our members who are saying they want to march to Eskom.— Livhuwani Mamburu, Num spokesperson
I must clarify that it is not a shutdown, it is a march to Eskom.— Livhuwani Mamburu, Num spokesperson
The anger is boiling on the ground, our members are getting impatient and we are trying to control the situation where these pickets are happening because they have said they will never accept this insulting offer of zero percent.— Livhuwani Mamburu, Num spokesperson
To hear the rest of the interviews on Eskom's looming strike, listen below: