Faizel Patel
Senior Digital Journalist
2 minute read
16 May 2022
2:36 pm

Numsa says struggling Eskom isn’t too broke to afford wage increase demands

Faizel Patel

Unions are demanding a 15% across the board wage increase, and housing allowance increase of R1,600.

File Photo: Members of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) outside Numsa's JC Bez House in Johannesburg. Picture: Michel Bega

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) has rejected Eskom’s narrative that it cannot afford above inflation wage increases for its employees.

Numsa says it met with other unions for a second round of wage talks in the Central Bargaining Forum (CBF) of Eskom from 10 to 12 May, to table their demands and get feedback from the power utility.

The unions are demanding a 15% across the board wage increase, housing allowance increase of R1 600, and a close to the apartheid wage gap.

The struggling power utility has offered an increase of between 2.7% and 4.7% based on different zones for employees.

Numa said Eskom has not responded to the demands of a 15% wage increase.

“Instead, Eskom has responded to the outstanding demand of resolving the apartheid wage gap, or the ‘income differentials’ but it has not tabled a proposal for the wage increase.”

Numsa said the issue of the apartheid wage gap is an old issue.

“In 2016 an agreement was signed detailing how the gap will be narrowed over time by increasing wages incrementally in order to reduce the wage differentials. Eskom is attempting to confuse workers by making a proposal on this, but it is refusing to address the issue of the wage demand.

“Let us be clear, we demand that the income differentials must be reduced, and we demand an increase in wages for the 2022/23 financial year.”

Numsa said the unions do not believe that Eskom does not have money to meet workers’ wage demands.

“We reject this with the contempt it deserves. We made it clear at CBF that Eskom cannot claim poverty while they are spending billions on exorbitant primary energy costs.”

Numsa has also condemned the actions of the Eskom Group CEO Andre De Ruyter who they say is undermining the CBF by communicating directly with workers.

The unions said it will be meeting again for another round of talks with Eskom on the 6th to the 8th of June.

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