Johannesburg - The National Union of Mineworkers handed over a memorandum to Eskom in Johannesburg on Monday demanding a 12 percent across-the-board salary increase.

“We, the exploited workers of Eskom organised under the banner of the revolutionary home of all energy workers, the NUM, gathered here today in our numbers, have decided to raise our concerns with you through this memorandum,” the union said in the document.

NUM spokesman Livhuwani Mammburu said its members also wanted a housing allowance of R1000 per month for every employee in the bargaining unit.

Mammburu said Eskom managers paid themselves a R5000 housing allowance in 2010, while workers in the bargaining unit were unable to afford their own homes or qualify for decent housing.

NUM members also demanded immediate action from the power utility, to reach agreement on the Minimum Service Agreement (MSA).

“For over seven years NUM has been engaging Eskom on the establishment of the MSA which unfortunately has not borne any fruit to date,” said Mammburu.

A demand was made for Eskom to withdraw the conversion of the pension fund, and for the Eskom board to provide an independent audit of the state of the fund.

“We are aware of Eskom's intention to convert our pension fund from its current form of defined benefit to defined contribution, without our approval as members of the NUM,” Mammburu said.

NUM also wanted Eskom workers to have the right to strike.

“Eskom workers are being declared as providing essential services. Hence they are prevented from embarking on any form of industrial action to express their frustrations about the arrogance of Eskom management when dealing with issues affecting them,” said Mammburu.

Eskom's media desk said on Monday that it would look at NUM's memorandum and respond “in due course”. - Sapa