Eskom unions reveal demands in high-stakes wage talks
The National Union Mineworkers, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, and Solidarity submitted their wage demands to Eskom. They are demanding a 15% salary increase across the board, along with other requests, as reported by SABC News. However, Eskom is offering only 3.75%. The wage talks occur in Sandton’s Central Bargaining Council while Eskom continues implementing intense rolling blackouts.
NUM is requesting an increase in their housing allowance to R 7 000, a cellphone allowance of R 1 000, and an employer contribution of 80% for medical aid. NUM’s chief negotiator, Olehile Kgware, stated that the unions are pursuing Eskom and have tabled their demand. Eskom has responded with an offer, and the unions are now presenting their rationale behind their request.
NUMSA spokesperson, Phakamile Hlubi-Majola, stated that Eskom has only responded to one demand, offering a one-year agreement and a 3.75% increase. NUMSA’s primary requests are:
- A two-year wage agreement.
- A 15% wage increase.
- An increase of R1 175 in housing allowance.
- Opposition to the closure of coal power stations.
Hlubi-Majola has criticized Eskom for its unprofessionalism and delay tactics, stating that the behaviour is unacceptable for an SOE executive management team.
Kgware has expressed hope for a fruitful engagement with Eskom to avoid an impasse that could result in strike action. In 2022, workers went on an unprotected strike, which damaged Eskom’s fragile capacity to keep the lights on. The wage talks will continue at the central bargaining council until the 21st of this month.