Eskom’s wage talks head for fourth round amid deadlock

Business Report writes that Eskom wage negotiations are heading for the fourth round in June after talks deadlocked as three workers unions rejected the employers’ revised final offer of 5.25% increases. This comes as the power utility and its three recognised trade unions – National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and Solidarity – concluded the third round of salary negotiations last week. Eskom on Friday said the negotiations have progressed relatively well with some significant movements made since the beginning of the wage talks last month.

In the first two rounds, Eskom responded with a 3.75% offer, which was later increased to 4.5%, against the NUM and Numsa’s demands of a 15% salary increment, while Solidarity demanded 10.1%. The latest round of negotiations, which began on May 23, saw the NUM and Numsa revising down their demands to 11% and 12% respectively, and Solidarity revised its demand to 9.5%. As a result, Eskom revised its offer and made a final offer of 5.25% on Wednesday, but this was rejected by all trade unions. The NUM said it was disappointed with the attitude of Eskom’s wage negotiating team, saying they were negotiating in bad faith.

NUM Eskom chief negotiator Olehile Kgware said the attitude of the Eskom negotiating team was an insult to the toiling Eskom workers who are trying to prevent higher stages of load shedding. “Eskom is willing to pay billions of rands to the Independent Power Producers (IPPs) and the diesel sellers while failing to increase the wages for the workers,” Kgware said. “The NUM has requested Eskom to make available the amount of money they are paying contractors and consultants and Eskom refused to provide that information.”

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