File picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - Giving in to Eskom managers' demand for a 4.7 percent pay hike would be tantamount to rewarding mediocrity, the Congress of SA Trade Unions said on Monday.

The labour federation reacted to weekend media reports that senior managers at the cash-strapped power utility demanded the increase because they have not received any increments.

"This is nothing but naked greed and selfishness by these millionaires. This is also a reminder that the power utility is imploding not only because of mismanagement but because of greed and corruption perpetrated by those at the top," Cosatu said in a statement.

"These managers are literally demanding that the consumers and taxpayers reward them for mismanaging the power utility. While they are abnormally reflective, they do reflect the toxic culture of greed and entitlement that has led to the near-collapse of Eskom."

The managers, who earn between R1,2 million and R3 million a year, are reportedly taking Eskom to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA). 

Eskom reported a whopping R20.7 billion net loss after tax for the financial year ended 31 March, up from R2.3 billion the previous year. The power utility faces the threat of industrial action if it does not agree to the pay hike, and that could result in blackouts to relieve the pressure on the network.

Democratic Alliance spokeswoman on Natasha Mazzone slammed the demands, saying managers' salary hike demand could cost Eskom up to R300 million should it be granted.  

African News Agency (ANA)