The drawn-out Eskom wage negotiations are set to continue this week after trade unions refused to budge on their demand for bonuses.
Two months after the talks started, parties are no closer to a wage agreement, with organised labour telling the Eskom management on Friday that there would be no deal without bonus payments.
The struggling power utility that reported major financial losses last week announced two weeks ago that it would not be paying bonuses due to its financial difficulties, just as unions seemed amenable to the rest of Eskom’s latest proposed wage increase package.
Its financial results released last week showed that sales fell in 2017, with losses incurred amounting to R2.3bn.
The utility has two wage increase options that workers are yet to respond to due to the differences over bonuses.
In Option A, the entity’s management proposed 7% wage increases for three years, with housing allowance hikes dependent on the inflation rate.
Option B is 7.5% in 2018 and 7% in 2019 and 2020 with no housing allowance.
Solidarity has already said the offer was good and would be recommended to members.
On Sunday, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) explained that Eskom’s employees had "performed exceptionally well" and that they therefore deserved to be paid bonuses.
Workers are demanding 12% of their annual income as a one-off bonus. NUM spokesman Livhuwani Mammburu said the issue remained a "deal breaker" and there would be no deal without it.
"As the NUM, we demand that Eskom pay the hardworking workers, who averted load shedding, their bonuses. As it is reflected in the performance score sheet that workers performed exceptionally well," Mammburu said.
The union said the company’s performance scorecard indicated that workers had met their targets and it was in line with their contractual agreements with Eskom that they should be paid bonuses as a result.
"A formal performance contract cannot be changed unilaterally. The NUM will not take this manipulation lightly. The NUM is going to fight tooth and nail until our members get the well-deserved bonuses," he said. Last week, Eskom chairman Jabu Mabuza said that where targets are set by an employer and then met by the employees, bonuses must be paid, "but the opposite must also hold", he said.