The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has called for greater attention to be given to the reskilling of Eskom workers “so that they can be absorbed” into clean-energy technology work opportunities.
In a statement released following a meeting of its national executive committee in Gauteng, the NUM continue to express misgivings over independent power producers (IPPs), as well as the proposed unbundling of Eskom into three separate businesses of generation, transmission and distribution.
The NUM reported, however, that it had resolved to seek expert advice on IPPs and to assess alternatives.
It also urged government to extend its focus beyond the introduction of new power generating technologies and to pay greater attention to the reskilling of the current Eskom workers “so they can be absorbed into the envisaged clean-energy technology, if indeed it is going to create more jobs as they claim”.
Despite “positive engagements” with President Cyril Ramaphosa and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, the NUM lamented the fact that no clarity had been provided as to how the unbundling of Eskom would help turn around the loss-making utility.
“The government is still not clear on the possibility of job losses as well as privatisation of Eskom,” the NUM said, while lambasting Energy Minister Jeff Radebe and Finance Minister Tito Mboweni for treating its concern over Eskom “with disdain”.
ELECTORAL BACKING FOR ANC
The union also pulled back from an earlier threat to withdraw electoral support for the governing African National Congress (ANC), over its disagreement with government on the restructuring of Eskom.
Instead, the Congress of South African Trade Unions affiliate urged eligible South African voters to participate in the May 8 election and to cast their vote for the ANC, saying the party “can be relied upon to take forward the liberation of this country”.