Tuesday is D Day for Eskom workers

2010-06-26 18:57

Eskom workers are expected to decide on Tuesday whether to embark

on industrial action or not.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), National Union of

Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) and Solidarity rejected Eskom’s latest offer on


The unions were issued with a certificate of non-resolution.

“We are meeting with all our members on Tuesday and that meeting

will decide if there will be a strike or not,” NUM national spokesperson Lesiba

Seshoka said.

The three unions represent about 30 000 Eskom employees.

Bhabhalazi Bulunga, Eskom’s head of human resources, said there

would be no electricity supply if all Eskom employees went on strike.

“Should there be a strike, the workers would be embarking on an

unprotected action. The rule of ‘no work, no pay’ would apply and we might have

to take disciplinary action,” Bulunga said.

“It is highly unlikely that they will go on strike,” he said. "We are still in talks."

Seshoka disagreed: “It is that confidence which gets them in

trouble with the workers. There are no talks happening anywhere at this point."

The latest demand from the unions is that Bulunga be


“He has shown us the middle finger. He boycotted (Thursday’s)

meeting and in the media he speaks as if Eskom is bigger than the employee –

forgetting that the employee is Eskom,”’Seshoka said.

Bulunga retorted: “It is normal for people to get personal when

talks deadlock. It is part of putting pressure on the employer.”

The unions have rejected the arbitration process.

Seshoka said: “We totally reject the arbitration process. We will

not get instructions from the minister, Eskom or CCMA (the Council for

Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration). We do what we want.”

Eskom says the union demands are unaffordable and would cost the

utility nearly R1 billion a year.

The unions are demanding:

» A 9% wage increase across

the board

» R2 500 in housing


» Six months’ paid maternity


» A 9% allowance


» An end to the use

of labour brokers

» The dismissal of Bhabhalazi


Eskom is offering:

» An 8% wage increase across

the board

» An R800 housing

benefit/allowance plus an R800 top-up

» Four months of paid

maternity leave

» A 5.6% allowance


Seshoka said the lowest-paid Eskom employee currently received a

salary of R76 000 a year and no housing allowance. Paid maternity leave comes to

three months and two weeks.


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