Unions mull Eskom’s revised wage increase offer


Labour unions are consulting with workers after Eskom tabled a revised 7% wage offer and agreed to some of the workers’ demands on Saturday.

Eskom’s rolling blackouts continue to wreak havoc this winter season after load shedding was ramped up to stage 6 this week, costing the economy billions more.

National Union of Mineworkers (Num) spokesperson Livhuwani Mamburu said the revised offer was presented to unions on Saturday.

“They have offered 7% across the board. They have also reversed last year’s decision to change the conditions of employment.

“On the other demand of housing allowance, Eskom offered R400 housing allowance. Eskom didn’t agree with us on wage gap. There are still white employees earning more than black employees, and that has caused so much anger at Eskom,” Mamburu told the SABC.

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A joint Num and National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) shop stewards’ meeting will be held on Tuesday where they would be revealing whether the offer has been accepted or not.

Mamburu said he was “positive” that the new offer might bring an end to the strike.

Eskom blamed the strike and “acts of sabotage” after it escalated loadshedding to stage 6 this week.

“Our members are not responsible for stage 6 loadshedding. There are serious issues that our members are concerned about and need to be addressed by Eskom management.

“Our members said they were not aware of any acts of violence or intimidation. We’ve been getting briefings that our members are back at work, others will return tonight for nightshift…there has been challenges in some of the power stations.”

He added that Num never called for a strike, but decided to call for meeting with management after members started picketing outside power stations.

Numsa initially demanded 15% across the board at the start of the wage battle, but revised their demand downward to 12%. Num’s wage demands currently range between 8% and 10% while Solidarity, which condemned the protests, made a demand of 5.9%.

According to the Sunday Times, some of the units at power stations break down just a few months after being repaired. Statistics tracking performance at Eskom and obtained by the publication showed that the worst performers were out between 46% and 68% of the time.

Among the worst performers was Kusile, where unit 1 was out for 14 days from September 2021. After being repaired, however, it remained unavailable for 68% of the next nine months.

Tutuka, in Standerton, had two units responsible for 1,170mw out for an average of 57.4% of the time following repairs in November 2020 and March 2021, read the report.

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