Power utility Eskom has laid load shedding rumours to rest after messages circulating on social media suggested there would be power cuts this week as a result of impending strike action.

In a statement released on Tuesday the utility said that despite workers plans to embark on industrial action this week, it would activate its contingency measure to ensure the lights stayed on.

According to Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe the utility is aware of the rumours, however they are baseless. “These rumours are exactly that, rumours and they have absolutely no basis at all,” Phasiwe said.

He further noted that the utility is aware that there are unions planning to go on strike on Thursday. Eskom has been locked in a wage despite with unions for several days and according to EWN, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is threatening a total shutdown if the utility doesn’t review its 0% wage increase offer.

Increase not financially viable

The utility however has noted that a wage increase will not be possible this year. “Eskom sympathises with it’s over 47 000 employees who have worked very hard to help keep the lights on during the past financial year. However, due to the difficult financial situation that the company currently faces, Eskom has decided to offer no salary increases this year,” it explained.

Eskom employees are considered “essential services” and therefore are not allowed to participate in strike action but according to Numsa’s general secretary, Irvin Jim, they can work around this.

“We have scheduled pickets during lunchtime in different parts of the country where workers will demonstrate their disgust with Eskom for their provocative stance,” he said.