- Eskom on Tuesday declared a dispute with unions at the Central Bargaining Forum after they rejected a 1.5% salary increase offer.
- A source with the National Union of Mineworkers said the wage negotiations will be referred to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.
- Unions made demands for basic salary increases ranging from 9.5% to 12%.
After finding no common ground through central bargaining on wage negotiations, Eskom has declared a dispute with unions on Tuesday, which is expected to send the embattled power utility's wage talks to outside arbitration.
The power utility has been locked in wage discussions at the Central Bargaining Forum in recent weeks with the National Union of Mineworkers, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, and Solidarity.
A source with the National Union of Mineworkers told Fin24 that, due to Eskom declaring a dispute at the Central Bargaining Forum, the wage negotiations are likely heading to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.
"Eskom has just declared a dispute with the unions. They are going to refer the matter to the CCMA. Eskom is still offering 1.5% salary increase. Eskom said the union demands are unaffordable and unreasonable," the source said.
Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha said Eskom declared a dispute on Wednesday as it could not reach an agreement in the Central Bargaining Forum wage negotiations with the three recognised trade unions.
"Eskom's final offer is a 1.5% increase in the basic salary, conditional on the unions accepting certain variations in some identified benefits of employees. The unions have rejected this, and instead placed demands for basic salary increases of 10%, 12% and 9.5%," said Mantshantsha.
Mantshantsha said unions made their demands in addition to other demands, which would mean increases of an average of 15% in the benefits enjoyed by the employees.
"Eskom, which relies on taxpayer cash bailouts to maintain its going concern status, has clearly demonstrated these demands are unaffordable," Mantshantsha said.
Last month Eskom released a document which said Eskom was projecting a net loss of R15.1 billion for the 2022 financial compared to a projected net loss of R19.8 billion for the 2021 financial year.