Wage dispute over. Now focus shifts to turning Eskom around


Three months of gruelling wage negations between Eskom and trade unions have come to an amicable end after the parties settled on a three-year wage agreement.

The protracted salary dispute was marred by protests and affected electricity supply.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) finally accepted a settlement proposal offered by the utility a month ago, offering workers a 7.5% increase for 2018 and 7% for 2019 and 2020.

Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim confirmed to City Press that his union had signed the collective agreement with Eskom’s central bargaining forum.

“The agreement is a three-year agreement. It will apply from July 1 2018 to June 30 2021 and is applicable to all permanent workers at Eskom. There will be a 7.5% increase for year one followed by a 7% increase for the second and third year,” said Jim.

The trade unionist also confirmed that there would be a “once-off cash payment of R10 000 after tax for all employees in the bargaining forum to be made within 48 hours of signing”.

The agreement also included:

• The housing allowance would be increased based on the consumer price index for each year of the wage agreement;

• The conditions of service would remain unchanged for the period July 1 2018 – June 30 2021;

• Parties agreed that the review of the current short-term incentive scheme will be referred for engagement at the central consultative forum negotiations.

After the signing of the agreement in the early hours of Thursday morning, Eskom spokesperson, Khulu Phasiwe said “the utility was pleased to announce that it has reached a three-year wage agreement with its recognised trade unions, ending the three month impasse”.

The signing of the agreement enabled Eskom to focus on improving its productivity levels and efficiencies, in an effort to turnaround the company added Phasiwe.

Jim thanked Numsa members for “demonstrating militant discipline in the face of extreme provocation by the employer” who first offered workers 0% only to offer an increase “thanks to the efforts of the workers”.

It still remains unclear how this wage increase would be achieved as the government had said that it was not prepared to foot the bill through yet another bailout.

Eskom has already indicated that “its staff complement was in need of a shake-up to ensure it was optimal and in line with industry norms globally”.

Two months ago the utility explained that it “would have to dip into its operational budget to finance the wage increases” as it was already in debt to the tune of R387 billion at the end of March.

Juniour Khumalo
City Press
p:+27 (0) 11 713 9001
w:www.citypress.co.za  e: juniour.khumalo@citypress.co.za
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