Johannesburg, South Africa — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 01 September 2011 – South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has threatened state-run power utility Eskom with a strike over what it described as a unilateral decision to implement a 7% wage increase.

The NUM said it had adopted a programme of action that included lunch-hour pickets and marches, and which would culminate in a strike action against Eskom.

The utility, which is responsible for virtually all the power generated in South Africa, is locked in wage talks with other unions as well.

South African trade union Solidarity announced earlier this week that it was declaring a wage dispute with Eskom, and that it was taking the issue to the government arbitrator.

Solidarity, which mainly represents skilled workers, said it was rejecting Eskom’s 7% offer, but did not specify its demands.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) confirmed on Monday that it had refused to sign a wage deal with Eskom.

NUMSA said that a strike by its members was not imminent, but added that “if it comes to the push, we will not hesitate to mobilise our members for an industrial action.” It said Eskom was offering a 7% wage increase while it was demanding 13% across the board.