Unions: Eskom must improve 3 issues for wage talks to move forward

Negotiations between the power utility and unions resumed on Friday morning after reaching a dead-end last week.

Eskom Megawatt Park. Picture Xanderleigh Dookey-Makhaza/Eyewitness News.

JOHANNESBURG - Trade unions at Eskom say there are currently three outstanding issues that have to be discussed further before they can determine a way forward.

Negotiations between the power utility and unions resumed on Friday morning after reaching a dead-end last week.

While Eskom has offered workers a 7% wage increase, there are other benefits that are yet to be finalised.

The National Union of Mineworkers' (NUM) general secretary William Mabapa said should Eskom return to the negotiating table on Friday afternoon with improvements on the outstanding three areas, they would have something substantial to take to members.

“After the caucus of Eskom, those issues we have raised, they would have been responded [to] in a positive manner. We will see a very huge progress. We may tentatively go out of this meeting having progress that we can go and seek a final mandate.”

However, he confirmed that the parties have concluded talks on two areas in the five-item offer.

Workers have been complaining about Eskom unilaterally removing benefits such as double overtime payments for working weekends and while on standby.

They also want the withdrawal of transport and accommodation benefits when being moved to other power stations to be reversed.

Another hurdle could be a once-off cash payment - which Eskom used as a sweetener in 2018 paying workers R10,000 to cushion them from the effects of inflation.

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