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Power strike could plunge World Cup into darkness

media Eskom Arnot Power Station (Photo: Eskom media gallery)

South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers has notified the power utility company Eskom that it is embarking on a pay strike next week, even though it has been declared illegal since electricity supply is an essential service. Two other unions involved in providing electricity are considering their positions.

South Africa’s power workers have maintained they will plunge the Football World Cup into darkness only as a last resort.

But the country hosting the sporting event has undoubtedly added muscle to their demand for a nine per cent pay hike and a 250 euro monthly housing allowance.

The last offer from Eskom is an 8.5 per cent rise and 100 euro housing allowance.

Union spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said they cannot be tied to a tree by government legislation. He maintains that the union is willing to compromise if Eskom agrees to the housing allowance.

Bhabhalazi Bulunga, Eskom human resources managing director, says the strike is illegal. He says the union is risking getting its members arrested.

The security services will do the power workers’ jobs and arrest anyone engaging in illegal activities.

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