Unions reject Eskom’s 5% wage increase offer, demanding 9% over 3yrs

By Paul Burkhardt

(Bloomberg) – South African unions representing workers in wage talks with Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. have rejected the utility’s latest offer of a 5 percent increase.

An Eskom sign sits on the exterior of the company’s headquarters at Megawatt Park.

“If there’s a better offer than what is on the table we’ll consider whether it is worthy” to take back to members, National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa General Secretary Irvin Jim told reporters. Eskom had offered 5 percent, which was rejected, he said. The labour groups have demanded about 9 percent annually for three years.

South Africa’s power grid was constrained after protesters blockaded roads and attacked staff after wage negotiations broke down earlier this month because the utility said it couldn’t offer any pay increase due to poor finances. That forced Eskom to introduce rolling blackouts for the first time since 2015.

“They know what we’re capable of but that’s not what we’re advancing,” Numsa’s Jim said.