Eskom to unions: Keep the bonus issue a separate matter

Eskom to unions: Keep the bonus issue a separate matter

Wage negotiations are set to resume between the embattled Eskom and three trade unions, in Woodmead on Friday.

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However, the thorny issue regarding incentive bonuses to Eskom workers is expected to take centre stage.

Eskom informed representatives of NUMSA, the NUM and Solidarity a week ago that there simply is no money to pay additional bonuses, but NUMSA and the NUM say their members regard this as a "deal breaker".

The wage negotiations started more than a month ago, after Eskom initially told workers there will be no salary increases, leading to illegal strikes that forced the SOE to implement load shedding. 

Eskom spokesperson, Khulu Phasiwe, says the talks will address the latest wage offer on the table.

ALSO READ: Energy expert Ted Blom explains corruption at Eskom

The embattled parastatal presented unions with two options; sign a three-year agreement of a 7% increase for each year and an increase in housing allowance according to the CPI. The alternative is a 7.5% increment for the first year, and 7% for the next two years with no housing allowance.

ALSO READ: Solidarity: Issue of Eskom bonuses ‘not make-or-break’

"The unions are not happy with the fact that there are no bonuses. Chances are that these two processes will be intermingled and then we will have a situation on our hands, I suppose," says Phasiwe. 

NUMSA and NUM marked the bonuses issue as a "hot potato" for workers, but Solidarity said that their members view bonuses as "not a make-or-break".

ALSO READ: Eskom mum on job losses as irregular expenditure balloons

Meanwhile, energy expert, Ted Blom believes Eskom's woes should not be attributed to its workers.

"The unions have called for a decent wage, the fact that Eskom has over compensation them to a factor of four times - its not their fault. Eskom's current financial dilemma must be separated from the discussions and negotiations with workers and honestly, I don't think that the workers should be held responsible for the misdemeanors and corruption within Eskom."

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