South African unions accept Eskom wage offer amid blackout Energy News

Eskom relies on an aging coal fleet, and South Africa has faced intermittent power outages for more than a decade.

South Africa’s state-owned utility Eskom and unions have signed a wage agreement, paving the way for a possible solution to their problems. Worst power outage in two years.

Struggling Eskom and its three recognised unions signed a 7 per cent pay rise a week after they began implementing a prolonged blackout, Blame them on striking workers Blocking efforts to bring the faulty powerplant back online.

The company said it would still take time to restore power and urged employees to return to work to begin the process.

“Due to the strike, repairs have had to be delayed and the backlog will take time to clear,” it said in a statement.

Eskom relies on aging coal fleet That’s easy to go wrong. For more than a decade, South Africa has faced intermittent power outages that have hampered economic growth.

The so-called “Phase 6” blackout implemented by Eskom since last week means most South Africans are without power for at least six hours a day. The last time it was this bad was December 2019.

Already saddled with unsustainable debt levels and tariffs that have yet to reflect the cost, Eskom said wage growth “will be a fight that Eskom can afford”.

Razia Khan, chief Africa and Middle East economist at Standard Chartered, said that while the wage deal was positive, “in the big picture, the affordability issue remains. It doesn’t really make Eskom’s bigger challenges go away.”

Small businesses have borne the brunt of the latest outages while still suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic and inflation, which has reached a five-year peak.

“These disputes are always resolved eventually,” energy analyst Chris Ylander told broadcaster eNCA. “The question is how much is lost in getting there.”

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