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Eskom, which is under unprecedented financial strain, received another blow on Thursday when the CCMA awarded employees a further 1.5% wage increase, backdated to July 2021.
The company is under unprecedented economic strain as it burns millions of litres of diesel a day to keep the lights on. This comes on top of lower sales revenue due to load shedding and its generally unsustainable position due to high debt, low-cost recovery and unpaid bills by municipalities.
The award relates to the 2020/21 year in which Eskom granted a unilateral 1.5% increase to employees in the central bargaining forum. These are unionised employees belonging to NUM, Numsa and Solidarity. The CCMA has added an additional 1.5% which will be backdated to 1 July 2021.
This year, Eskom employees received a 7% increase after a damaging illegal strike that triggered stage 6 load shedding. At the time, Eskom said that the wage increase would add R1 billion to the wage bill.
The additional 1.5% will add about R142 million to the annual wage bill. It took a year for the arbitration to be finalised.
"The NUM understands that the CCMA works on the balance of probability and in this case the NUM version was more probable than that of Eskom," the union said in a statement.