South Africa

    South African trade unions are threatening strikes after the country’s government allowed state-owned power firm Eskom to raise prices by 24.8 percent. Both consumers and businesses will struggle with significantly higher electricity bills, unions argue. The Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry said firms were already struggling to cope with the fallout of recession and slow economic recovery. The extra expense and risk of strikes were a “double whammy”, it added. “In this climate, with the economy where it is, obviously it has a huge impact, it is not good for recovery,” the group’s president, Mark Nowitz, told the BBC. Figures released earlier this week showed that South Africa’s economy grew at an annualised rate of 3.2 percent in the fourth quarter, helped by a strong rise of 10 percent for the manufacturing sector. But there are fears that the prospect of a big jump in power prices could dent that growth. (BBC)

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