Tensions high amid Eskom wage talks stalemate

Phakamile Hlubi speaking to SABC
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Trade unions, National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), have re-iterated their demand that Eskom refrain from disciplining employees who participated in the unprotected strike over the last few weeks.

The power utility has declared a dispute with trade unions, saying it cannot agree to the precondition as part of wage negotiations.

Last week, at a meeting convened by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), trade unions agreed in principle to Eskom’s three-year wage proposal.

The deal was that employees would see a salary adjustment of 7.5% in 2018/19, 7% in 2019/20 and another 7% in 2020/21.

Numsa spokesperson, Phakamile Hlubi-Majola says: “We reject Eskom’s intention to massively dismiss NUM and Numsa members. NUM is dismayed and we are extremely irritated by the position adopted by the Eskom board, management team and minister, Pravin Gordhan.

The unions requested a meeting with (Public Enterprises Minister Pravin) Gordhan as well as (Minister of Energy) Jeff Radebe. We made the request last Friday as a result of the stalemate that led unions to refuse to sign the settlement agreement. This is because Eskom, at the tail-end of the negotiations introduced a demand that they intend to take disciplinary measures against our members – something we view as bargaining in bad faith.”