29 August 2011

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) refuses to sign a collective bargaining agreement with ESKOM, since we rejected their racialised, unequal and poverty wage offer.

We call on ESKOM Board to apply cool-heads by providing decisive leadership in resolving the wage impasse in the interest of our members and the country at large.

We have been engaged in protracted wage negotiations since April 19, 2011 – until- August 2, 2011, with the intransigent ESKOM management for wage demands for 2011 as per recognition agreements in line with the Labour Relations Act (LRA).

Throughout these negotiations ESKOM has been bullying us by imposing a wage settlement that is far-fetched from our member’s demands. This clearly demonstrated that ESKOM was not willing to negotiate in good faith from the start of the negotiations.

The so-called final offer of 7% by ESKOM is a spit on the face of the workers in their quest to close the apartheid wage gap.

This paltry 7% increase is a sad indictment to the exploited workers at ESKOM who continue to receive racialised, unequal and poverty inflated wages.

ESKOM as a strategic entity of the democratic and peoples government, it should be obliged to give workers decent wages, given the ANC’s electoral commitments to create decent work opportunities or driving a decent work agenda.

As NUMSA we hold the view that the decent work agenda should be buttressed with a decent pay agenda given the economic burdens faced by the workers as a result of grinding poverty, mass unemployment, escalating cost of basic amenities and widening income inequalities in South Africa today.

As NUMSA we believe that ESKOM should be engaging these negotiations with an open mind and serious considerations of workers plight and sufferings. We are all aware that ESKOM has received huge financial injections over the past years, such as a staggering World Bank loan of R28 billion, and R21 billion loans from the African Development Bank respectively.

Therefore cool-heads and soberness from the ESKOM Board of Directors should be a prerequisite by using the utility’s massive capital injection towards eliminating the colonial and apartheid income inequalities within ESKOM geared towards improving the conditions of the overwhelming majority of our people in particular Black African working class.

Our demands to ESKOM are realistic and achievable understanding that ESKOM is a monopoly, and continuously pay themselves excessive salaries above inflation and huge bonuses.

This is what ESKOM have rejected;

· A 13% wage increment across the board;

· A six (6) months paid maternity leave;

· A R3500 Housing Allowance increase;


Numsa Press Release