An Eskom logo is seen in Sunninghill, Sandton.


Samsung Electronics employees commence strike

Samsung Electronics workers began a three-day strike for better pay on Monday, with their union pointing to further action should South Korea's biggest conglomerate continue to fall short of its demands. The National Samsung Electronics Union (NSEU), whose roughly 30,000 members make up almost a quarter of the firm's South Korean workforce, also wants an extra day of annual leave for unionised workers and change to the employee bonus system. Low participation and automated production means the strike is unlikely to have a significant impact on output at the world's biggest memory chipmaker, analysts said. Still, it signals a decline in staff loyalty at a pivotal point in the chip industry as tech firms embrace artificial intelligence. The union's first industrial action last month involved coordinating annual leave to stage a mass walkout, which Samsung said had no impact on business activity. The firm declined to comment on Monday's strike. - Reuters

Skydance, Paramount to merge

Skydance Media and Paramount Global agreed to merge, the companies announced late on Sunday, scripting a new chapter for one of Hollywood's oldest studios. The companies agreed to a two-step process in which Skydance and its deal partners will acquire National Amusements, which holds the Redstone family's controlling stake in Paramount, for $2.4 billion (R43 billion) in cash. Skydance will subsequently merge with Paramount, offering $4.5 billion in cash or stock to shareholders and providing an additional $1.5 billion for Paramount's balance sheet. Class B, non-voting shares of the CBS broadcast network owner, which rose more than 3% in trading before the bell, fell 1.8% at the open; Class A voting shares rose 4.8%. David Ellison, the 41-year-old tech scion who founded Skydance, will become chairman and chief executive of the new Paramount. Jeff Shell, former chief executive of NBCUniversal, will be its new president. The goal of the deal is to position the "new Paramount" as a "tech hybrid, to be able to transition to meet the demands and needs of the evolving marketplace." Ellison told financial analysts on Monday. - Reuters

Ster-Kinekor’s big plans to stay alive

Ster-Kinekor wants to diversify its offerings by launching console gaming and learning experiences at its cinemas, according to CEO Mark Sardi. The South African cinema giant has been struggling recently, cutting 52 jobs and closing two movie theatre locations in May and June 2024. Speaking to eNCA, Sardi explained that the company is looking at other avenues to generate revenue and use its cinemas.

“What we have is really big spaces in very attractive malls that are very secure,” said Sardi. “I think we’ve also got spaces where we can start to do other clever things like e-gaming, and I think you can bring an education element there as well.” Regarding the education element, the CEO says Ster-Kinekor hopes to partner with schools to provide students with a safe environment from Monday to Thursday where they can learn things like coding. “If you want to play the Ferarri or Rolls Royce version of the PS5, you can do so in the same venue,” said Sardi. He also indicated that the “e-gaming” offering could lead to Ster-Kinekor hosting tournaments. “Believe it or not, people will pay lots of money to watch other people twiddle their thumbs and play these games. So there’s a world where you can create an arena around all that,” said Sardi.

Ster-Kinekor and Nu Metro have attempted to use e-sports to fill empty theatres in the past. Following its recent retrenchments, Ster-Kinekor said it was once again exploring PlayStation gaming on its big screens as an option. -MYBROADBAND-

Eskom begins power cuts

Eskom has announced that it will resume load reduction in specific supply areas where network overloading is threatening critical electricity infrastructure. It emphasised that load reduction is not load-shedding, as it still had sufficient generating capacity to meet the country’s electricity demand. “While Eskom has suspended load-shedding for 103 consecutive days due to sufficient generation capacity, the issue of network overloading has resurfaced with the onset of winter,” the state-owned power utility said. “This issue is prevalent in the Eskom supply areas in Limpopo, Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, and North West.” Eskom said the overloaded transformers are at risk because of electricity theft and indiscriminate electricity use. It said electricity theft activities are wide-ranging and include illegal connections, network equipment theft, vandalism, meter bypasses and tampering, unauthorised network operations and purchasing electricity from illegal vendors. Eskom explained that its electricity infrastructure is designed to handle loads based on known demand, which is legally connected customers and actual sales for specific areas. Exceeding these loads through electricity theft can overload the equipment, potentially causing explosions that may lead to electrical fires in the surrounding areas. “Overloaded transformers as a result of electricity theft present a serious risk to human life, we only implement load reduction as a very last resort for the shortest periods possible after all other options have been exhausted,” said Eskom distribution executive Monde Bala. “A transformer damaged by overloading can leave an area without power for up to six months, protecting Eskom’s assets is in the best interest of all South Africans.” Eskom assured that it would communicate with affected customers through the relevant cluster or province and use the normal channels, including SMS and Customer Connect newsletters. “Load reduction is a long-established process that Eskom uses in specific areas when there is sufficient electricity available, but a transformer’s integrity is at risk due to overloading,” the power utility explained. “Load-shedding is used when the national grid is constrained, and there is not sufficient capacity to generate electricity to meet demand,” it continued. “It is also a proactive measure that Eskom uses to protect human life, equipment worth millions of rands and people’s livelihoods.” Eskom noted that transformer overloading was recorded mainly during peak hours around 05:00 and 07:00 in the morning, and 17:00 to 19:00 in the evening. -MYBROADBAND-


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