Eskom unions wait on revised wage offer

Unions were hoping on Monday that Eskom would present a new wage offer, an official said.

“We have given Eskom until tomorrow [Tuesday] to come back to us with a revised offer,” said National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) spokesperson Castro Ngobese.

The electricity parastatal and its three unions—Numsa, the National Union of Mineworkers and Solidarity—have made little progress in attempts to resolve failed wage talks in the past few days.

Eskom referred the matter to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) for compulsory arbitration after talks did not produce a deal on Thursday night.

The unions were demanding a 9% increase and housing allowance of R2 500 per month, revised downwards from a 15% increase and a R4 000 housing allowance.

Eskom’s offer on Thursday included an 8% increase and a housing subsidy of R500 for all workers.

Alternatively, it offered an 8% increase and a top-up housing subsidy of R800.

This meant those currently receiving a subsidy of more than R800 would not get any increase on the subsidy, but those without subsidies would now get R800.

Eskom has been declared an essential service so there is no provision for protected industrial action.

However, Ngobese said the unions’ members were ready to strike if they were not happy with Eskom’s feedback on Tuesday.

“Our members have wanted to strike all along,” he said.

Ngobese said this would mean 27 500 of Eskom’s 30 000 workforce would not report for work.—Sapa

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