Eskom wage talks: shedding a pay load
With projected losses running into billions of rands, Eskom has drawn a line in the sand against ‘unaffordable’ wage demands above its 1.5% offer. The unions want 10 times more and have dug in. Pushing their case against renewables, they blame the cost of IPPs for Eskom’s shortfall and are threatening industrial action
Unions hoping to draw politicians into their wage impasse with Eskom may be disappointed.The utility’s management has put its foot down, reiterating that its 1.5% wage offer is final despite the threat of industrial action if it fails to meet union demands for a 15% increase.Eskom is an essential service and employees are therefore not permitted to strike. The unions would be risking much should they defy the law.The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) has called on public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan and Deputy President David Mabuza to intervene.But the FM understands that the government, which has been burnt before, is taking a wait-and-see approach, leaving the negotiations to Eskom management.In the last round of talks, Gordhan stepped in after Eskom’s initial position was a wage freeze. Labour ended up with 7%, further denting Eskom’s financials.The cash-strapped state-owned utility, buckling under a R401bn debt pile, says it only continues as a going concern t...
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