Mar 22, 2023

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Eskom agrees to reinstate workers’ benefits as wage talks go into the night

With its back against the wall, energy company Eskom agreed to union demands for the reinstatement of some terms and conditions in addition to the offer it made of a 7% pay rise.

Eskom had amended the terms of service last year unilaterally amended and taken away some of the benefits.

After a bumpy start to pay rise talks at Sandton on Friday morning as the parties struggled to find reciprocity, the afternoon saw the parties begin to find each other when Eskom began to move.

After a lunch break, a separate smaller meeting attended by Eskom’s senior executives, chaired by Elsie Pule, Eskom Human Resources Director, and the union’s senior executives – including Irvin Jim by Numsa and William Mabapa of Num – attended – was held outside the hall where the wage negotiations took place.

TimesLIVE learned that at that meeting, Eskom agreed in principle to reintroduce terms of employment, which included transportation benefits for those called to serve through shifts and double pay for Sunday shifts.

Following a standstill during of the 2021 collective bargaining in the central collective bargaining forum, Eskom had opted for a unilateral wage increase of 1.5% as of July 1, 2021 and made changes in the working conditions, withdrawal of some social benefits enjoyed by the employees.

“What What’s left now is how that’s going to be done, and there’s just no agreement yet on how to get welfare back in place,” an insider told TimesLIVE.

The unions have also offered a one-time lump sum payment the employees demanded and that the 7% offered should be a flat rate. Eskom wanted a staggered implementation, with those on low wages getting the full 7% while those on higher wages got less.

As the meeting wore on into the evening, the parties attempted to find common ground on the Questioned how and when employment conditions would be reinstated as unions and Eskom had differing views.

The resumed talks come as Eskom desperately tries to end the protracted wage rise negotiations and workers’ lawsuits. Strike at various power plants across the country amid crippling load shedding introduced this week.

Unions are expected to withdraw the offer if the parties find members for a decision.

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