Strike on the cards as unions reject Eskom’s ‘insulting’ 0% increase

2018-06-12 18:57

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa and the National Union of Mineworkers have rejected what they call an “insulting” wage offer of zero percent from Eskom.

The unions held a joint press briefing on Tuesday at the Garden Court hotel near OR Tambo International Airport to discuss Eskom’s offer of zero percent salary increases.

The two unions had demanded a 15% increase across the board, a housing allowance increase of R2 000, the banning of labour brokers and the insourcing of workers such as cleaners and security guards.

The demands also included paid maternity leave for six months and paid paternity leave for one month.

In announcing their demands, the unions said that workers should not suffer because of plundering at the state-owned entity.

NUM and Numsa said that Eskom had demonstrated that it did not care about workers, whom they said were facing onslaught from all sides.

“On the one hand the state has adopted an austerity budget that is attacking workers through VAT and fuel price increases; while on the other hand Eskom is denying workers their well-deserved wage increase,” the unions said in a joint statement.

On Monday, NUM national spokesperson Livhuwani Mammburu had said that a march would be held outside Eskom’s head office in Sunninghill on Thursday.

Following the press conference on Tuesday, the unions said that they would exhaust all legal options available to them “before resorting to a strike”.

“We are left with absolutely no option but to follow the law to the letter to declare a dispute of interest against Eskom management.

“Solidarity has also decided to declare the same dispute of interest. We celebrate this unanimous decision by all unions to take a stand against Eskom as a brutal and hostile employer,” the unions said.

“We have scheduled pickets during lunch time in different parts of the country where workers will demonstrate their disgust with Eskom for their provocative stance,” they added.

In rejecting the 0% wage increase, the unions demanded that Eskom come to the negotiations table with an intention to negotiate.

They also demanded an urgent meeting with the Eskom board, President Cyril Ramaphosa and Energy Minister Jeff Radebe.

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January 20 2019