The Eskom strike officially ended on Tuesday after the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) accepted the 7% wage increase which was proposed by the utility after engaging in heated talks.
According to News24, NUM energy sector coordinator Khangela Baloyi said the unions would sign the agreement on Tuesday afternoon. This comes after weeks of talks that came to a deadlock, resulting in the unions partaking in a strike that triggered the implementation of stage 6 load-shedding, which has been going on for almost two weeks.
Numsa had initially put forward a demand of a 15% increase. However, the embattled power utility company said that it could not afford that much and offered a 7% increase instead, which the union rejected instantly.
The strike made things even worse for the country in the past few days. Eskom even threatened a stage 8 load-shedding if the strike persisted. However, no one really knows if things will be better now that the strike has been put to an end. The South African power utility is swimming in debt (more than $20 billion debt).
According to Daily Maverick, Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter has said the company would only be sustainable if its debt is reduced to R200 billion ($12.1 billion).
By Zintle Nkohla
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