Today's Labour News

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eskomCarol Paton writes that Eskom’s capitulation on its 0% wage offer on Friday was the swiftest collapse of a bargaining position you’ll ever see.  

In a matter of hours, the company, prompted by Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, moved from a 0% wage increase to at least 5% by promising labour that "no-one will be left worse off than before".  Negotiations, due to start again on Tuesday, will now focus on whether this means the consumer price index or something more.  The writer notes that it was a horrible lesson for new CE Phakamani Hadebe, who, together with his board, completely misjudged the situation.  Hadebe, a finance man and banker, hasn’t had much to do with workers and trade unions before.  Nonetheless, there is no question that something drastic must be done.  However, the 0% offer was met with anger, compounded by Eskom issuing a statement that "we have plans in place and we are ready".  But, Eskom was far from ready.  Workers brought down generating units with ease.  Hadebe was shocked by the sabotage and the lengths to which people were prepared to go.  Public sentiment swung behind the workers.  The 0% offer was an insult not just to those at Eskom but to everyone who works for a wage and feels at the mercy of bosses who rake in millions of rand.  It was a week of hard knocks for Hadebe and the rest of the board.  Going into the resuscitated negotiations, Hadebe will have to change tack and take trade unions into his confidence about his strategy for Eskom.

  • Read this excellent article by Carol Paton in full at BL Premium (paywall access)


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