Eskom has announced that it will begin “regular wage talks” next week on 4th May with recognised labour unions, but its press release reads more like a warning to prepare for power cuts.
We say this because in the the first paragraph of its media statement, Eskom warms that, “Wage talks may be unpredictable and, depending on the positions taken by the parties, could result in tensions rising”.
“Eskom would like to assure the public that it will do everything possible to attempt to reach consensus that is financially sustainable and in the best interest of its employees, the public and the country at large,” the utility wrote.
“If disruptions were to occur, these may have a negative impact on our infrastructure and operations, which may compromise our ability to supply electricity,” Eskom added.
The unions Eskom will negotiate with are the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) and Solidarity.
Earlier this month NUM and NUMSA tabled demands for a 15 percent wage increase in preparation for these talks. Solidarity meanwhile wants a 9.5 percent wage increase for its workers as reported by Moneyweb.
The big question is whether Eskom is able to meet those demands and keep the utility afloat.
Its ailing infrastructure coupled with R464 billion in debt means it’s really not looking good for unions negotiating wage increases.
Here’s hoping Eskom can keep the lights on. Wage negotiations are expected to be completed by 4th June.