NUM spokesman
Lesiba Seshoka
Johannesburg, South Africa — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 20 April 2011 – South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has reiterated that it would take strike action against national power utility Eskom Holdings, and has confirmed that it is now demanding a 16 %, one-year wage hike.

Spokesman Lesiba Seshoka told Reuters that there was no timeframe for the possible action, but added that it was possible before June or July. “We have not set a date for a strike, but we are saying that the likelihood of having a strike is greater,” Seshoka said.

Last week the union said it was giving Eskom the option between signing a minimum service level agreement (MSA) or facing a possible strike. Other demands include an increase in housing and electricity allowances.

“We would like to have an MSA but if of course we do not have it, then the possibility of a strike before June or July is great,” Seshoka added.

NUM has said it has 16,000 employees at Eskom, which has a 40,000-strong workforce.

Reuters reports that Eskom, grappling with tight supplies for its customers, is embarking on steep rate hikes that could increase inflationary pressures. And any strike action that dimmed the lights could have a serious impact on Africa’s largest economy.