New Eskom deal with unions to add R1 billion to wage bill

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Eskom has signed a wage deal with unions.
Eskom has signed a wage deal with unions.

Eskom welcomed a one-year wage deal in its negotiations with unions for a 7% wage increase at the power utility.

However, the utility warned that the recovery of its power system would take some time to recover from serious backlogs in recent weeks, which triggered Stage 6 load shedding.

The deal comes after a deadlock at the Central Bargaining Forum (CBF) wage negotiations led to protest disruptions at several Eskom sites, causing load shedding to escalate.

However, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), and Solidarity returned to the CBF on Friday and a deal was signed on Tuesday afternoon.

READ | If Eskom strikers aren't punished, it will set a dangerous precedent, expert warns

Eskom said in a statement that the agreement would add more than R1 billion to the overall wage bill between July 2022 and June 2023.

"This, of course, will be a struggle for Eskom to afford. It is important to note that while the workforce is returning to work, the system will still take some time to recover. As a result of the strike, maintenance work has had to be postponed, and this backlog will take time to clear," the statement said.

READ | Eskom: After week of bedlam and more Stage 6, unions' wage decision expected on Tuesday

At the time of returning to the CBF, the NUM demanded 10% and Numsa demanded 12% while Solidarity demanded 5.9%. During the talks, Eskom revised its offer upwards multiple times, from zero percent to 5% and ultimately to 7%.

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