Thapelo Lekabe
Digital Journalist
2 minute read
21 May 2021
10:02 am

Unions accuse Eskom’s De Ruyter, management of frustrating wage talks

Thapelo Lekabe

Numsa, NUM say the power utility's managers have been 'dismissive, arrogant and disinterested' in engaging with unions.

Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter. Picture: Moneyweb

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) have accused Eskom CEO André de Ruyter and management of refusing to engage meaningfully in wage negotiations at the Central Bargaining Forum (CBF).

The power utility said this week its 1.5% wage hike offer to unions was final, despite Numsa and NUM’s demand for a 15% wage increase for all non-managerial employees. Trade union Solidarity requested a 9.5% increase.

ALSO READ: Eskom says 1.5% wage hike offer is final

Speaking at a joint press briefing on Thursday in Johannesburg, the leaders of Numsa and NUM accused Eskom management of attempting to frustrate the wage talks.

They said the utility’s managers had been “dismissive, arrogant and disinterested” in engaging to find possible solutions to the challenges besetting the parastatal and the wage negotiations.

The unions rejected Eskom’s 1.5% wage increase offer and urged the company to reconsider its position. However, the utility maintains the unions’ demands are unaffordable.

Eskom’s wage offer is on condition that union representatives accept amendments to some conditions of service. These changes include transfer benefits, overtime pay rates and travel time.

Numsa and the NUM said even before the wage talks began earlier this month, Eskom’s executive management had already “poisoned the atmosphere of negotiations by deliberately peddling lies and misinformation about
what workers at Eskom earn”.

“This fake propaganda is not neutral and it is not an error. It is deliberate. The goal is to peddle a false narrative that our members in the CBF are spoiled and unreasonable and their demands are responsible for driving up the costs of the power utility.

“This is not true because the objective reality is that it is Eskom’s bloated coal costs and the cost of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement (REIPPP) programme which are collapsing Eskom,
not workers wages,” the unions said in a statement.

Numsa and NUM called on Eskom to meaningfully engage with unions in wage negotiations and take their submissions seriously on the company’s turnaround plan.

‘The solutions we propose are not just limited to wage increases, they are a basket of proposals that can turn Eskom around and return it to its former glory.”

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