Eskom signs wage agreement with unions

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Eskom has signed a wage agreement with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA), it said on Thursday.

“The agreement was reached at 2am this morning. It entails a 7.5% wage increase for this year and a 7% wage increase for the next two years,” Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe.

In addition, the agreement includes a once-off payment of R10 000 after tax and a housing allowance that is linked to inflation.

“We think it was a reasonable deal,” said Phasiwe, adding that the power utility’s third union, Solidary, will sign the deal today.

Phasiwe said the situation at the utility’s power stations had been relatively stable.

Earlier this month, the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) closed the Labour Relations Act (LRA) Section 150 process as parties deadlocked during talks.

This was in addition to Eskom declaring a dispute with the three unions over the precondition that NUM and NUMSA introduced as part of the wage negotiations.

NUM and NUMSA demanded that irrespective of the outcome of the disciplinary process, no member should be dismissed.

However, at the time NUM and NUMSA introduced a precondition that Eskom should not discipline employees who took part in the July/August unprotected strike. The power utility could not agree to this precondition.

In June 2018, NUM and NUMSA defied the Labour Relations Act (LRA) and its essential service provisions and embarked on unprotected strike action.

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan intervened in the matter and convened a meeting where all parties reached an understanding that the unions would end all unlawful industrial action and the company would not discipline employees who engaged in the June 2018 unlawful industrial action.

In July, some employees embarked on further unprotected industrial action until 3 August 2018, despite a court interdict and company communication to staff reminding employees that Eskom is an essential service.

“These events again led to power system constraints and load shedding. The power system will take about 30 days to recover from the effects of the illegal strike and there is a risk of further load shedding during this period,” said Eskom at the time. –