The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) insists it won’t sign the Eskom wage offer it’s accepted on principle if the power utility refuses to drop charges against its members.
NUMSA is accusing Eskom of negotiating in bad faith and says the power utility wants to use the illegal strike during wage talks as an excuse to fire workers.
NUMSA, along with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has downed tools for nearly two months, with the power giant offering a 7.5% increase for this year and a further 7% salary hike over a two-year period, increased housing allowance and a once-off payment of R10,000.
Eskom is demanding the trade unions take disciplinary action against striking workers, which the unions are not agreeing to. NUMSA said it would be meeting with Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan to discuss the way forward. “We are hoping to meet with the minister on Monday. If this fails, we will have to consult our members to determine whether to embark on protected strike action. We are confident that the Labour Court will set aside its earlier court order interdicting any strike.”, said secretary-general Irvin Jim.
The unions are also refusing to sign the agreement, saying it would enable the power utility to discipline the workers who downed tools.
Solidarity was part of the wage talks, but exited the fray after accepting the offer. The union said the decision to accept the offer is in the best interest of the country.