South African trade unions and the power utility Eskom had been in talks since April and now, after discussing for months, they have finally come to an agreement of three years, where workers will get a 7% hike every year.

Negotiators for the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), and the Solidarity Union have reached an agreement, after bargaining with Eskom.

"It is worth noting that this is the first time in more than a decade that the parties have reached an agreement in the room," Eskom's acting group chief executive, Calib Cassim said on Thursday, News24 reported.

Initially, NUMSA and NUM wanted a 15% hike while the Solidarity union demanded 10.1% raise. Eskom offered 3.75% raise and then made it 5.25%, which was also rejected by trade unions.

However, after bargaining for several months, all unions and the power utility have agreed on a 7% pay raise. This agreement will help to avoid wage negotiations till June 30, 2026.

"It will maintain stability in the organization, so Eskom and its employees can focus on dealing with load shedding," Eskom's spokesperson added.

Previously, NUMSA members blamed Eskom, the government, and President Cyril Ramaphosa for failing to provide electricity in the country. NUMSA's spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said in March that no one wants to take responsibility for load shedding.

She referred to the 1998 White Paper on the Energy Policy, which clearly stated that "Eskom's present generation capacity surplus will be fully utilized by about 2007" and "timely steps will have to be taken to ensure that demand does not exceed available supply capacity and that appropriate strategies, including those with long lead times, are implemented in time."

Considering the power cuts in South Africa last year, the country faced more than 200 days of load-shedding, which costs over $50 million of loss on a daily basis. Furthermore, it created a huge impact on several services and public infrastructure.

Electricity minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa claimed in the same month that there are technical problems at Eskom but there is no corruption.

However, South Africa Government News Agency reported on May 14 that Eskom has welcomed the arrest of a former short-term contract employee named Zandile Rosemary Ngcobo over fraud and corruption allegations.

Moreover, a former Eskom official named Nwabisa Ngxola, who used to work as an administrative clerk, was sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment for defrauding the power utility of R2.6 million.

South Africa is currently in talks with China and Mozambique to receive electricity to reduce the impact of load-shedding.

Eskom is all set to receive 1,000 megawatts of gas-fired energy from Mozambique while the country is also seeking help from China in terms of providing solar panels, battery storage, wind turbines, and renewables technology.

South Africa's Eskom to reduce power cuts but long-term outlook bleak