NUM said to reject Eskom wage proposal as talks resume

Cape Town – One of the three unions meeting on Friday with power utility Eskom has already rejected its latest wage offer, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. 

Eskom has in recent weeks been negotiating with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and Solidarity over wage increases. 

Wage talks earlier broke down when Eskom could only offer unions a wage freeze citing strained finances. It later upped its offer to 4.7%, then 5%, both which were rejected. The latest offer - which unions took to their members - was 6.2%. 

A person with knowledge of the negotiations, who asked not to be named as they had not been authorised to speak to the media about this point yet, said NUM had rejected Eskom's latest offer of a 6.2% wage increase. 

However NUM spokesperson Livhuwani Mammburu told Fin24 on Friday morning that the union would wait until the meeting to announce to Eskom whether the members accepted the latest offer or not. 

“We can’t say anything at the moment. We are at the negotiations at Woodmead. We will report the mandate of accepting or rejecting. We took the offer to the members and our members gave us. I cannot say at this point what the mandate from our members was,” said Mammburu.

Eskom deputy spokesperson Dikatso Mothae told Fin24 on Friday morning that it would not be drawn into any bid to instigate a standoff between unions and Eskom.

“We are still going into a meeting with them and are not in a position to say one way or the other. We are going into a meeting with a clear mind with a view of finding an acceptable agreement. These are negotiations and we are going in with a view to negotiate our way into an agreement,” said Mothae.

Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola told Fin24 on Thursday: “The talks will continue tomorrow. We will convene with the other unions. We will issue our response to the offer which we will announce our response in the meeting with Eskom and the other unions first”.

Solidarity did not respond to a a request for comment on Friday morning. 

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