One would hope that wage negotiations between Eskom, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the National Union of Metalworkers South Africa (Numsa) would finally be nearing completion but it seems we have reached yet another hurdle.
Eskom has said that while all items in a new wage agreement have been agreed to, unions have issued a new ultimatum.
“Regrettably, despite the union confirming that all items are agreed in the wage agreement, and despite Eskom employees desperately awaiting the implementation of the agreement, the unions raised a new demand as an absolute precondition for signing the agreement at the meeting of the 8th August 2018. This demand was that the company must agree not to discipline any employee who engaged in the second round of five days of unlawful industrial action,” Eskom said in a media statement.
The utility has said that it will not agree to this demand. Eskom says that union members gave up the right to be protected from disciplinary action when they embarked on a second illegal strike.
“It is untenable that the company is effectively being asked to both condone and be complicit in the unlawful actions of some Eskom employees and their unions. This cannot be reasonable or justified under any circumstances in any democracy, and especially in our country where labour law protects the rights of employees to fair and due process in the event of any disciplinary action being taken against them,” the utility said.
The agreement between Eskom and unions in its current state would see wages increase by 7.5 percent in 2018 and 7 percent for the following two years.
Eskom is noticeably concerned about this debacle. Earlier this month the utility warned customers that the threat of loadshedding would hang over their heads as Eskom repaired the damage done during the strikes.
That repair work could take as long as 30 days and with unions stalling the signing of a new wage agreement we suspect this original time period may be extended and as a result, loadshedding fears might linger a bit longer.
The threat of loadshedding for Monday is low but Eskom warns that the probability of loadshedding will increase during the evening as demand peaks.
Be sure to check the loadshedding timetables provided by your municipality and Eskom and be sure to be conservative with your power usage so as not to strain the grid.[Source – Eskom]