Staff picket Eskom’s HQ over potential job cuts

And a proposal to split up the utility.
The interior of Eskom headquarters are seen at Megawatt Park in Sandton, near Johannesburg. Picture: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

Several dozen employees of South African state power firm Eskom picketed the firm’s headquarters on Wednesday protesting against potential job cuts and a proposal to split up the ailing company.

Eskom, which supplies more than 90% of the power in Africa’s most industrialised economy, is struggling with around R420 billion of debt and fighting for survival.

Read: Unions oppose potential split of Eskom

Analysts expect South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to say how he plans to turn around Eskom at a state of the nation address on Thursday.

A task team appointed by Ramaphosa to advise him on ways to save Eskom has proposed splitting it into different entities for generation, transmission and distribution, sources have told Reuters.

“There was a lunchtime picket by some Eskom employees who demanded to be briefed by management on the reported potential unbundling of Eskom and also rumours of potential job cuts,” Eskom spokesman Khulu Phasiwe said.

He added that chief operating officer Jan Oberholzer had urged the workers to await the state of the nation address to hear what interventions the government would announce to assist Eskom.

Videos of the picket shared on social media showed several dozen Eskom staff, some in red T shirts emblazoned with the logos of trade unions, dancing and singing during the protest at the company’s Megawatt Park headquarters in Johannesburg.

Unions have said they are opposed to splitting Eskom, arguing that it is part of a plan to privatise the company and that it will lead to large-scale job losses. 

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To simply split Eskom is not a solution. The debt and income and expenses will simply also be divided.The only solution is that the operating costs needs to be drastically reduced.

Unfortunately once hired its difficult to fire staff. Not only legally but also the hostile mindset- so the workers are calling all the shots-downsize Eskom-and we close it down-no power-and then you will find out…..

The damage done by the previous leadership( government and Eskoms) is probably going to be fatal for our country unless a huge recapitalization takes place at a truly astounding cost to all(increase, debt swaps etc). This new money will effectively be written off.

End of comments.

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