The first round of wage talks between the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and Eskom is set to get underway on Tuesday, 4 May 2021. With proceedings yet to begin, Numsa claims Eskom has already started with “dirty tricks,” by apparently linking the power cuts to the looming wage negotiations.

“We reject the desperate attempt by Eskom in its latest statement, to link power cuts to wage talks. It is an objective fact that the current management of Eskom under the leadership of Andre De Ruyter is failing to keep the lights on, and that under his watch, the country has experienced the worst case of loadshedding in history,” said Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola.

This after the power utility warned earlier in the week, of power disruptions, as a result of wage talks with Numsa, NUM and Solidarity.

“Eskom management is trying to cover up for its glaring failure to guarantee electricity supply, and it is using the upcoming wage talks as a convenient scapegoat to implement more loadshedding”

Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola

What exactly are Numsa’s demands from Eskom?

  • 1-year agreement
  • 15 per cent wage increase
  • Ending salary disparities

“The principle of equal pay for work of equal value must be applied. We need to make sure that the pay gap between these groups must not exceed fifty per cent. It must be above the mid-point,” Numsa said.

Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said Eskom will likely try to present the wage bill and related benefits of employees as the primary cause for its financial troubles, which she claims is simply not true.

“Eskom’s wage bill is not its biggest cost driver. Furthermore, in the statement, the management of Eskom is hypocritical. It must not preach to workers about ‘putting the country first’ and call on them to make sacrifices, when it is refusing to apply that principle in the running of the organisation,” Hlubi-Majola said.

The union added that one of the burning issues which must be resolved in the wage talks was the “racist wage gap.”

“Black people are appointed at the minimum notch while Whites are appointed at the maximum scale leading to a massive wage gap for the same task grade, that can range between R5000 per month up to R11000 per month depending on your task grade”

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Presh JM Reporter

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