A two-week long strike by Eskom workers came to an end last night as the National Union of Mineworkers and Solidarity inked a wage deal. This is according to Solidarity, which says the agreement is its best with the utility ever.
In a statement released on Friday morning, the union says the offer comes after negotiations had been delayed on several occasions since June 2016. The agreement allows for a salary increase of 10 and 8.5 percent for lower and better paid workers in the first year, which will be repeated in year two.
In the first year, the R2 600 housing allowance will be increased by 10 percent and then by R140 in the second year. Allowances will grow 5.6 percent in each of the two years.
Deon Reyneke, deputy general secretary for the energy industry at Solidarity, explains the deal was signed last night by NUM and Solidarity, effectively ending the strike, which started on August 8.
“This is one of the best offers Eskom has made to date, and our members are more than satisfied with the excellent offer Eskom has put forward. We have therefore received a mandate from our members to sign the proposed two-year offer.”
Reyneke says “our members will now be able to get on with their work as usual after the protracted bargaining process”.
The news comes after Eskom said on Thursday that electricity supplies were unaffected despite the nationwide pay strike, and that it was holding wage talks with unions mediated by labour authorities.
NUM, which has around 15 000 members at Eskom, escalated its strike this week.
Eskom, whose operations are designated essential services by law, obtained a court order against NUM and two other unions on Wednesday to stop the strike. The NUM has said its members were taking part in the strike in defiance of the court order.
Around 15 000 workers in the petrochemical industry have also been on strike over wages since last week, but so far there have been no significant fuel shortages.[Source: IOL]