30/06/2018 07:42 SAST | Updated 30/06/2018 07:42 SAST

Unions Accuse Eskom Of Hiding Their Real Wage Offer As Negotiations Continue

Unions say the power utility is not being honest about what it can really offer workers.

Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim (L) and deputy general secretary Karl Cloete (R).
Sowetan via Getty Images
Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim (L) and deputy general secretary Karl Cloete (R).

Unions in the midst of wage negotiations with Eskom have accused the power utility of engaging in "horse trading" as opposed to presenting the true wage increases that it can afford.

Wage talks between unions and Eskom are still ongoing, with unions rejecting Eskom's latest offer on Wednesday. Fin24 reported that the National Union of Mineworkers, the National Union of Metalworkers SA and Solidarity said in a joint statement that they will meet with Eskom again on Thursday morning.

Eskom initially offered no increases for 2018 resulting in protest action by workers, which led to load shedding.

The unions reportedly want a 9 percent wage increase for 2018, an 8.6 percent increase for the second year, and an 8.5 percent increase for 2020.

But Eskom has offered a 5 percent increase for 2018, and an inflation plus 0.6 percent increase for the second year and an inflation plus 0.7 percent increase for the third year.

Numsa's Irvin Jim told eNCA that the unions want Eskom to put forward its real mandated offer.

"The approach and framework that Eskom has embarked on — they've decided to embark on horse trading. What we gave last week was a comprehensive proposal to deal with cost drivers, which if Eskom addressed, it would be in a better position to make a better offer.

"We are of the view that this is not the final offer that Eskom is mandated to offer. Eskom must present their final mandate. We demand that they present their final offers," he said.

Eskom deputy spokesperson Dikatso Mothae told Fin24 that Wednesday was the first of three days of wage talks this week. Eskom hopes for an agreement to be reached this week.

The unions have accused Eskom of not taking the wage negotiations seriously, according to Eyewitness News (EWN).

Jim reportedly said Eskom has asked for more time and that they are expected to provide the unions with feedback.

"They have requested to be allowed to go back. We do not determine who are they are going to meet. They could be meeting their senior management, they could be meeting with the board but we expect them to give us the feedback which should actually resolve this impasse," Jim reportedly said.