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Mind the gap: Eskom tables 1.5% wage hike offer to NUM’s 15% demand

(Photo: Waldo Swiegers / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), which is demanding 15% wage hikes across the board from Eskom, said on Monday the state-run utility had tabled a one-year offer of 1.5%. Eskom confirmed the offer, setting the stage for a tough round of negotiations.

NUM spokesman Livhuwani Mammburu told Business Maverick that “we are not going to change our demand. This offer is a joke and an insult”.

Inflation is currently running at 3.2% and is expected to accelerate in coming months, so the offer is well below the inflation rate. 

Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha confirmed the Eskom offer. 

“Eskom has today tabled a 1.5% offer, subject to labour agreeing to some changes to some of the benefits,” he said. 

As we reported a month ago, NUM is demanding a 15% wage hike across the board for its members at Eskom, and a doubling of the housing allowance.  

NUM has long maintained that ordinary workers should not suffer because of management misdeeds and outright looting in the past. But the fact of the matter is that Eskom is in terrible financial shape with a debt burden of close to half a trillion rand. 

NUM claims about 14,000 members at Eskom and is the SOEs largest union. Its relations with Eskom management are rocky at the moment, to say the least, amid allegations of racism it has levelled against Eskom Group Chief Executive André de Ruyter.

Given the gap between the opening demands and the offer, negotiations are expected to become even more tense. BM

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