Eskom insists that it will still take disciplinary action against employees who engaged in a violent unprotected strike.
This is as the power utility and unions celebrate the conclusion of this year’s wage negotiations, with an agreement signed on Tuesday.
However, as unions draw a line in the sand over the disciplinary action issue, it appears that the company could be headed for another dispute with workers.
Eskom’s head of HR, Elsie Pule, said that the entity did not condone lawlessness and would be taking action against the workers who took part in the unlawful strike.
While Eskom employees are guaranteed the right to strike in the Constitution, like all workers, they have entered into service level agreements with their employer declaring some of them as essential services.
This means they cannot strike.
However, Eskom was also looking to take action against those it accused of sabotage during the protests.
But unions did not take kindly to this.
The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa)’s general secretary Irvin Jim: “I think it would be stupid. We are sitting here since this dispute was kicked off by Eskom walking out of negotiations, not workers, or unions. Eskom took a decision to say they are declaring a dispute unilaterally while we were still negotiating. We wrote them a letter saying this is provocative. They showed us the middle finger.”
Eskom and the unions, however, agreed that the agreement would help normalize operations after power cuts had to be ramped up due to the labour unrest.
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