Johannesburg, South Africa — ESI.AFRICA.COM — 22 August 2011 – The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) “’ with a combined total of more than a quarter of a million members in various sectors “’ is still threatening a strike at South African national power utility Eskom Holdings, which supplies almost all of the country’s power.
The union refused a 7% wage offer from Eskom, which said any significant pay rises would affect the utility’s strained balance sheet and could lead to further steep rises in electricity tariffs.
Reuters reports that further wage hikes will make it more costly to hire the workers needed to bring power by 2014 to the 25% of the country’s households that still have no access to electricity.
Wage deals over the past years of double to triple the inflation rate have made the country less competitive by driving up the cost of a workforce that is already more expensive and less efficient than those in emerging market peers.
The report adds that the ruling African National Congress, which is in an alliance with organised labour, does not want to antagonise a group that has supplied it with millions of votes by pushing workers to accept more modest pay increases.