JOHANNESBURG - Eskom will have to fork out an additional R1.3 billion in staff salaries if labour unions accept its offer of a 6.2percent wage increase.

The power utility yesterday tabled a revised offer of a 6.2percent rise for 2018, 6percent for the second year and another 6percent for the third year.

This after the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) and Solidarity rejected Eskom’s 5percent wage offer on Wednesday.

The unions have consolidated their demands, which include a 9percent wage increase in 2018, 8.6percent for the second year and 8.5percent for 2020.

If they accept Eskom’s 6.2percent offer, the parastatal would be forced to raise an additional R1.3bn to subsidise the increase, despite its dire financial status.

Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim said yesterday that they decided to take Eskom’s 6.2percent offer to their members to reflect on.

“They must tell us how they feel about it and give us a mandate for the way forward. We will meet again next Friday where we will communicate the decision of our members,” said Jim.

NUM chief negotiator Helen Diatile said: “We are going to hold a shop steward council on Thursday and take a mandate from workers. They will tell us what to do, because on Friday next week we will be meeting again at the negotiating table.”

Solidarity chief negotiator Tommy Wedderspoon said they had already taken Eskom’s latest offer to their members and were waiting for feedback, which they hoped to receive on Tuesday.

In the annual financial statement for the year to March 2017, Eskom paid R22.1bn in staff salaries and R1.3bn in overtime. It also forked out R4.2bn in annual and performance bonuses.

In 2016, Eskom paid R20bn in staff salaries and R2.1bn in bonuses. The utility has criticised the decision by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) on a tariff proposal in which it wanted a 19.9percent tariff increase for the 2018/19 financial year, but Nersa only granted a 5.23percent increase in December last year.

Eskom reportedly planned to request a 30percent hike in the next financial year. However, Nersa proposed a 6.84percent increase for municipalities supplying residents with Eskom power.

Eskom, which had wanted 19.9percent, criticised the decision, saying it would leave it worse-off financially.

Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

-BUSINESS REPORT