eskomBloomberg reports that Eskom extended the worst blackouts on record to a fourth day as the state-owned power utility struggled to recover from a strike that prevented as many as 90% of staff at some power plants from going to work.

The company cut 6,000 megawatts, known as Stage 6, from the national grid from 2pm until midnight on Thursday and will do so again from 5am until midnight on Friday. It has apparently raised its wage offer to unions to 7% in an attempt to break a negotiation deadlock that led to workers going on a rampage, torching homes of senior officials and blocking entry into plants. While Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said two days ago that staff would return to work from Wednesday, “high levels of absenteeism and intimidation of working employees in some of the power stations is still rife,” Eskom indicated. “Due to the unlawful and unprotected strike, which has caused widespread disruption to Eskom’s power plants, Eskom is still unable to return some generators to service,” the company said. The utility plans to cut a minimum of 4,000 megawatts of power continuously over the weekend. Unions are expected to meet managers on Friday morning about a pending wage agreement, according to the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).

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