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On Friday, South African state-owned power utility Eskom announced that it has reached a two-year wage agreement with its recognised trade unions, ending the two day strike action by members of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) early last week.

Last week, 1,500 members of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), who are employed at various South African power stations, refused to commence their duties over the ongoing wage dispute.

Eskom negotiates wages

The parastatal said: “The wage agreement was reached at talks facilitated by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), which intervened in the matter in terms of section 150 of the Labour Relations Act.

“In terms of the two-year agreement, signed by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and Solidarity, Eskom employees will see a wage increase of between 8.5% and 10% this year and next year.”

[quote]The power utility added in a statement that the housing allowance will also be increased by R260 ($19) per month this year, and a further R140 ($10) per month next year – bringing the total housing allowance to R3,000 ($223) per month over the next two years.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) is still considering the offer and we are hopeful that they too will sign soon.

In June, NUM stated that they are fighting for a 15% salary increase for its members on top of:

  • Maternity leave: No concessions on maternity leave have been made. The union is still demanding six months paid maternity leave.
  • Housing allowance: The NUM has made a huge concession on its initial housing allowance of ZAR7, 500 [$596] to ZAR5, 500 [$448].
  • Duration of the agreement: The NUM maintain a 1-year wage agreement.
  • Leave encashment: The NUM is demanding that when employees sell a minimum of 5 days they must be paid for 5 days not be penalised for 2 days as it is currently happening. This practice constitutes a daylight robbery in terms of the conditions of service.

The utility offered a 5.75% wage increase adding that it’s financial situation was in an uncertain space, with loans having to be paid to keep the system running.

This offer was quickly rejected and referred to being “pathetic and insulting”.

 

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