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What's the deal breaker? Striking Eskom unions reject latest 7% wage offer

Workers are demanding an 8% salary hike this year and then 8.5% for the next two years.

FILE: Eskom's Megawatt Park offices in Sunninghill. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Labour unions have rejected Eskom’s latest wage offer of 7% with the utility now planning to table a revised offer.

It's the fourth round of negotiations between the power utility and unions, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and Solidarity.

Workers are demanding an 8% salary hike this year and then 8.5% for the next two years.

Eskom's Khulu Phasiwe said: “Eskom is now regrouping. We are going to give them an adjustment on what we think would be a fair offer. But the difficulty for Eskom quite frankly is that we seem to be going around in circles.

"We were told that the housing allowance was a deal breaker, today we are now told that the bonus payment is the deal breaker.”

Initially, the utility claimed financial difficulties made it impossible to increase salaries in 2018, but after four rounds of negotiations management has come up with a plan to pay its workers more.

However, it appears that the latest offer of 7% is simply not enough and workers have threatened to go on strike if the utility does not table an offer higher than 7%.

It’s understood the unions are asking Eskom to seriously consider housing allowances and bonuses for their members.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)