File Image: IOL

CAPE TOWN - Eskom and the National Metalworkers Union (NUM), Solidarity and National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) met again on Wednesday, to discuss wage offers.

Eskom proposed a 5% increase, an offer which is above-inflation increases for next year and 2020. 

However, Numsa says the latest offer is not one it could take back to its members who are demanding a 9% increase.

"Eskom claims that the industrial action which workers participated in two weeks ago cost the power utility R50 billion in damages. Our wage proposal in comparison will cost them only R1.2 billion. 

Surely if Eskom was determined to settle the strike they would simply accept the proposal which has been made by all unions so that we can resolve the dispute.

"Instead they have once again requested more time to consult with their principles. In the spirit of trying to resolve the impasse, we have given them time to consult. We shall reconvene on Thursday morning, and hopefully this time, they will place something meaningful on the table. We are eager to see this process resolved as soon as possible", said the unions in a statement. 

Additionally, Labour unions believe Eskom is not taking wage negotiations seriously and have accused the power utility of wasting time.

According to Numsa’s Irvin Jim, he said that Eskom has asked for more time to make a decision. 

“They have requested to be allowed to go back. We do not determine who are they are going to meet. They could be meeting their senior management, they could be meeting with the board but we expect them to give us the feedback which should actually resolve this impasse", said Jim. 

Previously,  Eskom Chairman Jabu Mabuza on Monday said it may have been “tactically wrong” to start wage negotiations with unions representing employees at the power utility at zero per cent.

“When you deal with the issues of wages, I think we could have handled this issue better as Eskom. It was perhaps tactically wrong to go in the negotiation chamber and say we are going to have a zero per cent increase. I think that was a bit wrong,” he said.

READ ALSO: Starting Eskom wage negotiations at 0% was wrong, says Mabuza

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- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE