Today's Labour News

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eskomBusinessLive reports that cash-strapped power utility Eskom is heading for a showdown with unions in the second round of wage talks as it sticks to its stance of no pay increases.  

Wednesday was the first day of the second round of talks, and Eskom has not budged from its opening offer, a move that has set the stage for a showdown with the unions.  Eskom did not give in on any demands, including on the ‘softer’ issues of maternity leave and housing.  On Wednesday, the unions said that they were prepared to "physically remove" the newly appointed top management and embark on an unprotected strike.  Eskom employees are essential-service workers and so cannot strike legally.  The financial situation at Eskom is dire, even though a turnaround strategy is on the cards.  

The NUM, the majority union at Eskom is demanding a 15% increase.  The union’s Paris Mashego said they were interpreting the company’s stance as a suspension of its recognition agreement.  He claimed management wanted to strip employees of their current conditions of service, as agreed to in the past.  Numsa’s Irvin Jim said they were "dismayed" by Eskom’s stance.  Solidarity’s Deon Reyneke said that Eskom was simply playing games by frustrating trade unions with a 0% offer, hoping unions or their members would do "something irresponsible" to give the company the "moral high ground".  Solidarity’s opening demand was for a 9.5% increase.  Talks were due to continue on Thursday and Friday this week.

  • Read this report by Natasha Marrian & Claudi Mailovich in full at BL Premium (paywall access)

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