The National Union of Mineworkers wants a 15% wage increase for all Eskom workers along with housing and other benefits.
The biggest labour union at Eskom wants a 15% wage increase even as the utility fails to generate adequate electricity to meet the country’s needs, resulting in nationwide power cuts.
The National Union of Mineworkers wants the same raise for all workers along with other increases in allowances for housing and other benefits, it said in a copy of the letter to Eskom seen by Bloomberg.
Wage negotiations at the utility come at a contentious time for Eskom and South Africa.
Measures implemented by President Cyril Ramaphosa to end power shortages have not produced the desired results.
The measures included expanding a program to buy renewable energy, implementing a national state of disaster that was retracted, and appointing an electricity minister.
However, load-shedding continued and has become worse recently as winter started biting. The country is currently facing stage 6 power cuts.
Labour settled on a one-year contract with Eskom in 2022 following violent protests that intimidated some workers from reporting for duty and increased power shortages that contributed to an all-time record.
Eskom employees aren’t allowed to strike legally because the provision of electricity is considered an essential service.
Solidarity, another labour union at the utility, has also submitted its demand for a pay increase of 3 percentage points above the average inflation rate.
South Africa’s average inflation rate was 6.9% last year and the central bank projects that it will slow to 6% by 2023.
Eskom said it received wage demands from all recognized trade unions at the company and had a meeting on Thursday to clarify them. The utility declined to comment on what it can afford until it conducts an analysis.