South Africa's Eskom Declares Dispute With Unions as Talks Stall

(Bloomberg) -- South Africa’s state power utility declared a dispute with its biggest trade unions after they refused to sign a new wage deal unless the company agrees not to discipline workers who participated in illegal strikes.

While all three recognized unions agreed in principle last week to accept Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd.’s latest offer, the two largest groups introduced a precondition to prevent workers from being penalized for protests during the wage negotiations. Eskom workers aren’t permitted by law to strike, but the company was forced to implement power cuts and reported damage to systems and equipment when talks stalled previously.

The utility had agreed in principle not to discipline workers who engaged in industrial action in June, but the National Union of Mineworkers and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa want that extended to July and August, the company said. A dispute has also been declared with the Solidarity union.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.