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Will Eskom afford to pay over 7% salary increases for 2018?

Reports from the talks this week indicated that Eskom had moved higher than its proposed 7% wage hike but none of the parties will confirm the latest figure publicly.

FILE: Interim Eskom CEO Phakamani Hadebe at a media briefing on 3 May 2018.  Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Concerns have been raised about how Eskom will be able to afford to pay salary increases of more than 7% for the current year.

The power utility and unions have sat through four rounds of negotiations over the past weeks with no final agreement just yet.

Reports from the talks this week indicated that Eskom had moved higher than its proposed 7% wage hike but none of the parties will confirm the latest figure publicly.

Unions want an increase of 8% for 2018 and 8.5% over the next two years.

Energy expert Chris Yelland says the question is how will Eskom cope with what's on the table.

“What is Eskom going to do about it and how is it going to ensure financial sustainability if it said that it couldn’t afford anything except a 0% increase and it’s now being pushed to 7%? I can only see one solution and that’s Eskom is heavily overstaffed and it’s going to have to reduce its staff numbers.”

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)