Eskom unions accept 7.5% pay increase

Date: Aug 31, 2018

Eskom has finally signed a three-year wage agreement with trade unions following three months of gruelling talks that deadlocked numerous times and affected electricity supply.

The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) acceded to the settlement proposal the utility made a month ago of 7.5% increases for 2018 and 7% for 2019 and 2020.

The agreement follows Eskom’s decision to declare a dispute of mutual interest at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) after the unions refused to sign the deal, demanding that the company drops its disciplinary charges against employees.

The power utility said it would act against employees who took part in illegal strikes in June and July, plunging the country into darkness when the company was forced to implement load shedding.

Workers went on a rampage after Eskom opened wage talks with a 0% wage hike offer that was widely criticised.

The company claimed its properties were vandalised in acts of sabotage meant to affect the power grid.

The agreement reached late on Wednesday night made no mention of the unions’ ultimatum not to sign until Eskom guaranteed it would not dismiss workers, despite the outcomes of disciplinary hearings. However, the unions got Eskom to agree that there would be no changes in workers’ conditions of service until 2021.

It was unclear how this would apply in reality, as Eskom has already admitted its staff complement was in need of a shakeup to ensure it was optimal and in line with industry norms globally.

Eskom’s finances have been in shambles for years after it became susceptible to corruption along with other state-owned companies that were allegedly targeted for looting during the past administration in government.

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