The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) will protest against Eskom’s proposed 16% electricity increase, the union said on Sunday.
A snap electricity cost survey conducted by Numsa in November found that of the 10 companies with energy-intensive production surveyed, 37.5% anticipated closing down as a result of the proposed increase.
The union was planning to protest against the proposed tariff increases sought by Eskom at provincial hearings scheduled by the energy regulator.
“Our shop stewards will picket at the nine provincial hearings that the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) will hold between now and the end of January,” said Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim in Durban on Sunday.
If Eskom’s application succeeded, it would result in job losses and general price increases, Mr Jim said.
“Even more distressing is the fact that all but one company stated they would have to retrench workers as a result of the proposed tariff increase,” said Mr Jim.
“The companies further stated that the job losses would range between 300 and 600 per company in the five-year period.”
The increase would lead to higher prices of food and other consumer goods, he said.
Mr Jim said municipalities would also hike their prices, which would have a negative impact on local economies and destroy local jobs.
The increase in electricity prices would also destroy any chances of dealing with the challenges of unemployment, inequality and poverty, he added.
Mr Jim said Eskom should consider inflation-related and not double-digit increases.
“Through the increases, consumers and customers are asked to pay for Eskom’s inefficiency,” he said.
Investigations by Nersa and the public protector into load-shedding had revealed one of the causes of the imposed blackouts was Eskom’s failure to secure coal contracts on time.
There had also been delays in Eskom’s build programmes and projects.
By Nosihle Shelembe. Source: Business Day