Unions move to mobilise workers as Eskom wage talks stall

Workers affiliated with NUM and Numsa want 15% wage increase while Eskom says it can't afford the hike and has offered a 1.5% increase.

FILE: Eskom employees affiliated with the NUM on strike. Picture: Eyewitness News.

CAPE TOWN – Eskom on Thursday said it couldn't afford to pay its employees what unions demanded.

The National Union for Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) aren't budging from their demands for a 15% salary increase for Eskom workers.

They rejected Eskom's offer of a 1.5% increase.


Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim said Eskom's executive management refused to engage meaningfully in the wage negotiations, even though the power utility said it had been negotiating in good faith.

Jim said they had now taken a decision to mobilise workers.

“Workers must demonstrate in support of their demands. We are also warning that we think this is a dangerous game, because workers are not going to picket forever. At some point you might find a situation where the lights would end up being off.”

He said they were calling on government to intervene to make sure that Eskom was given a mandate to settle the matter.

“We are calling on all strategic departments, Pravin Gordhan and the deputy president. We will weigh all our options, including checking the legal approach and whether we should take this matter in a deadlock to arbitration.”

The unions are demanding that Eskom take the submissions by NUM and Numsa on the turnaround plan and engage on their core demands and wages.

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