Trade unions reject Eskom’s offer in wage talks

The NUM, Numsa and Solidarity met with Eskom once again on Wednesday.

Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Trade unions have rejected Eskom’s 5% wage hike.

Eskom met with the National Metalworkers Union (NUM), Solidarity and National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) again on Wednesday where the utility also offered above-inflation increases for next year and 2020.

However, Numsa says the latest offer is not one it could take back to its members who are demanding a 9% increase.

Numsa General Secretary Irvin Jim said: “All of us as unions, collectively, we’ve rejected 5% and we took a caucus and took a comprehensive response. We call on Eskom to come to the party and make an offer that can settle this round of negotiations.”

The unions jointly say: “This is not an offer we can take back to our members for consideration. Once again we have called on Eskom to take this process seriously.”

They added in a statement: "Eskom claims that the industrial action which workers participated in two weeks ago cost the power utility R50 billion in damages. Our wage proposal in comparison will cost them only R1.2 billion. Surely if Eskom was determined to settle the strike they would simply accept the proposal which has been made by all unions so that we can resolve the dispute.

"Instead they have once again requested more time to consult with their principles. In the spirit of trying to resolve the impasse, we have given them time to consult. We shall reconvene on Thursday morning, and hopefully this time, they will place something meaningful on the table. We are eager to see this process resolved as soon as possible."

Earlier, Jim said unions were confident they'd presented a comprehensive proposal to end the wage strike at Eskom and that the ball was in Eskom’s court.

“We think that it is within Eskom to able to improve the offer on the table. As to whether we are finally making any new grounds, as unions, we will sit down and reflect on the offer on the table and at that point, we will take a decision.”

Additional reporting by Pelane Phakgadi.