After more than a month of wage talks and intense disputes, Eskom has made the final decision to implement a 1.5% basic pay increase, as well as changes to service conditions, from 1 July.
The power utility said its decision had been communicated to the three trade unions fighting for a higher increase, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and Solidarity.
It is not yet known how they have taken the news.
Wage talks began in May at the Central Bargaining Council, where Eskom’s 1.5% offer was tabled and ended on 2 June.
NUM and Numsa called for a 15% pay hike for all non-managerial staff, while Solidarity called for a 9.5% increase.
A dispute was declared as no resolution could be reached, prompting a mediation process at the Commission of Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) on 10 June.
On 11 June, labour unions referred the dispute to the CCMA for arbitration, which all affected parties are still waiting for.
In a statement on Friday morning, Eskom said its offer was “dependant on the efficiencies and savings realised from reviewing certain elements of employee benefits where there are excesses”.
“Eskom has identified possible adjustments in the overtime, travel and transfer benefits, among others. These adjustments will also be implemented with effect from 1 July 2021.”
The embattled state-owned entity explained its decision would enable management to “better protect jobs at Eskom”, as well as manage sustainability and allow it to play “its critical role of supplying electricity”.
Eskom CEO André de Ruyter said the utility could not allow wage disputes to “compromise our national interest and hold hard working South Africans and their families hostage”.
He urged all employees and labour unions to “put the national interest and respect for the law first”.
Eskom reminded employees their jobs are classified as essential services, making any industrial action unlawful.
Compiled by Nica Richards. Additional reporting by Thapelo Lekabe