Eskom implements conditional 1.5% basic wage increase offer

Eskom has urged employees and labour unions to put the national interest first. File photo.
Eskom has urged employees and labour unions to put the national interest first. File photo.
Image: Reuters/Sumaya Hisham

Eskom has announced that it will implement a conditional 1.5% basic wage increase and changes to conditions of service offer with effect from July 1.

The power utility said it had made the decision after extensive engagements at the central bargaining forum since the start of wage talks in May.

“This decision has been formally communicated to the three recognised trade unions: the National Union of Mineworkers, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA and Solidarity.

“Eskom’s offer is dependent on the efficiencies and savings realised from reviewing certain elements of employee benefits where there are excesses,” said Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha.

Mantshantsha said Eskom had identified possible adjustments in the overtime, travel and transfer benefits, among others. He said these adjustments would also be implemented on July 1.

“This will enable management to better protect jobs at Eskom, address and manage the risk to the organisation’s sustainability, allowing Eskom to play its critical role of supplying electricity to the economy and in the public interest,” he said.

The power utility urged employees and labour unions to put the national interest and respect for the rule of law first.

“Colleagues, as proud, caring and committed South Africans, we cannot allow a dispute over wages to compromise our national interest and hold hard-working South Africans and their families hostage, as a result,” said Eskom group CEO André de Ruyter in a statement to staff.

The wage talks ended on June 2 with Eskom declaring a dispute when it could not reach  agreement with unions. No resolution could be reached at the conciliation and mediation process held on June 10 at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) head office. The next day Eskom received notification that organised labour had referred the dispute to the CCMA for arbitration.

Mantshantsha said the parties were still waiting for the arbitration process.

The power utility said the generation, distribution and transmission of electricity were  classified as essential services and employees were therefore legally prohibited from participation in unlawful industrial action.

“When Eskom guardians keep the lights burning in SA, and electricity is supplied to crucial medical facilities, we are playing our part in ensuring that hospitals and businesses can operate, save lives and get South Africans back to work,” said De Ruyter.

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