The National Union of Mineworkers (NUMSA) has displayed concerns around the decision made by the new Eskom board to unilaterally suspended the recognition agreement with unions as it prepares for privatisation.
“Wage talks opened up at the power utility this week and the state owned entity said it could not afford to increase wages at all. Eskom claims that by denying workers an increase they are saving the State Owned Enterprise (SOE) from a deeper crisis. We reject this with the contempt it deserves!,” NUMSA said in a statement.
The strategy of saving the precarious balance sheet of Eskom is to sell off government tangible assets worth R638 billion which constitute 84% of its asset base.
The unaudited financial results as presented by Caleb Cassim, the acting CFO, reveal that Eskom is technically insolvent, it’s gearing has grown from 72% to 78%.
To appease the lenders and investors the board decided to suspend all agreements reached with NUMSA and other unions.
In the wage negotiations this week Eskom pitted the workers demand against the bankers and investors interest.
Eskom chose the investors and bankers and declared that workers are replaceable. It then offered a 0% salary increase as a first and final position.
This negativity of the board has a potential of igniting labour unrest and demotivate workers. The NUM has no other choice but to mobilise its members and South Africans at large to oppose the wholesale of government assets.
The appointment of Phakamani Radebe is entrenching the so-called New deal agenda which is a vehicle for privatisation paraded as an economic solution for the country.
This article was first published on our sister publication’s website, Mining Review Africa (www.miningreview.com).