Eskom staff wants increase of between 9% and 15% — or the lights will ‘switch off’
The National Union of Mineworkers and the National Union of Metalworkers of SA say they will go to the president if all other avenues fail
Organised labour at Eskom has called on the government to do "everything" to ensure the cash-strapped power utility is resourced to increase employees’ wages or "the lights will switch off".
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) said on Tuesday that they would declare a dispute of interest at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), as they exhaust all legal options before declaring a strike.
Wage talks at Eskom deadlocked last week following its failure to table a wage increase offer for workers, while unions demanded between increases of between 9% and 15%. The over-indebted Eskom said it would not adjust salaries in an attempt to rein in expenses.
To challenge this decision, NUM and Numsa said during a rare, joint briefing in Johannesburg that its members would stage lunch time pickets nation-wide, with the biggest demonstration planned for Eskom’s head office at Megawatt Park.
The unions said that if all their efforts to twist Eskom’s arm do not suffice, they would approach Energy Minister Jeff Radebe and President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Said Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim, "The president is the ultimate authority. Should we fail to get satisfaction from the energy minister, we will go to the president. We are starting with the board but if the president does not satisfy us, the lights will have to go off."