The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) says that Eskom has revised its offer again and have offered a 5,25% increase.
Numsa says that it rejects the proposal because it feels that Eskom can do better.
“Food inflation is extremely high, and the cost of fuel and basic goods has skyrocketed. And to make matters worse, the South African Reserve Bank has hiked interest rates, which means our members are going to struggle even more to make ends meet,” said the union
According to the union, workers at the state-owned enterprise have for the last three years been subjected to austerity measures. It says the allowances have not changed since 2016/17.
This is because Eskom has been taking away from workers, in order to fund bloated costly primary energy contracts which have ballooned from R83 billion, in the 2017 financial year, to R155 billion in the 2023 financial year.
“To make matters worse, the former disgraced GCEO of Eskom, André de Ruyter confirmed in his affidavit to the High Court that Eskom spends approximately R3.2 billion per annum on private security. This is looting on a grand scale!
“They loot through the procurement expenditure and they will not intervene to reduce those expenses, but when workers at Eskom ask for a decent wage increase, the SOE pleads poverty.
“Workers at Eskom refuse to continue to suffer, while the financial mismanagement of the entity continues unabated,” said the union
Numsa has also said Eskom’s management says that National Treasury had promised to fund them, but the funding comes with conditions and that these monies cannot be used to improve wages and benefits of workers at Eskom.
“Treasury must explain the rationale for denying workers increases, and yet, it continuously, approves the bloated primary energy contracts. How can it be fair to take away workers’ benefits and wages, so the private sector can benefit?
“Where is the justification for the outrageous expenditure on private security contracts, especially, when we are told that the South African army is also guarding power stations?” asked the union
Numsa says its workers at Eskom are working tirelessly to keep the grid from collapsing, and keep the lights. Therefore, Treasury must allocate money to meet the wage demands which workers are making.
It added that National Treasury had been grossly irresponsible by failing to stop the rapid escalation of the cost of primary energy.
“What National Treasury should do is to make sure that it allocates enough money so workers can at least have decent wage increase. At the same time, it must implement the Cabinet directive which was given in 2019 which called for the primary energy contracts to be renegotiated or set aside.
Numsa will be engaging its members at Eskom in order to seek a new mandate.
“We will meet again soon for another round of wage talks within the CBF which is scheduled for 13-14 June 2023. We remain committed to resolving this round of wage talks as soon as possible,” it said.
Numsa says that it is aware that the stakes are high because of load shedding. “We are eager to see load shedding come to an end.”