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Protesting Eskom workers returning to work, as pay talks resume on Friday

Eskom said some workers were returning to work from Wednesday amid a protracted industrial action over pay grievances that led to widespread power outages that have damaged the country’s already fragile economy.

The strike had been marked by violent protests and intimidation.

“Eskom is pleased to announce it has in principle reached an agreement with the unions to resume wage talks on Friday at the Central Bargaining Forum,” the power utility said in a statement.

The state-owned electricity company said the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) have urged their members to return to work immediately as a result of this agreement.

Eskom said this is a positive development, as it means that negotiations can resume and hopefully result in a resolution.

It said is a relief for customers, who have been struggling with prolonged power outages.

The utility urges all employees to return to work as soon as possible to relieve system pressure and ensure service delivery.

“While the workforce has returned to work, the system will still need time to recover, as maintenance work has had to be postponed due to the strike, and this backlog will take time to clear.”

Due to the continued unlawful strike, Eskom said on Thursday it regrets to announce that stage 6 load-shedding will be implemented from 2 pm until midnight.

Stage 4 load-shedding will then be implemented at midnight to 5 am on Friday.

On Friday, stage 6 load-shedding will be in place from 5 am to midnight.

A minimum of Stage 4 will be required continuously throughout the weekend.

“We currently have 3 161MW on planned maintenance, while another 17 467MW of capacity is unavailable due to breakdowns.”

Eskom said it would continue to closely monitor the changing conditions and make adjustments as necessary.

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