Eskom wage hike 'a declaration of war'

2011-08-31 20:27

Johannesburg - Eskom's "unilateral" implementation of a two-year, seven percent wage agreement is a declaration of war, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said on Wednesday.

"The NUM's national shopsteward council has resolved, and adopted a programme of action that includes lunch-hour pickets and marches to Megawattpark which will culminate in a strike action against Eskom," spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said.

Eskom could not be reached for comment.

NUM chief negotiator Paris Mashego said the union planned to put up a fight.

"We hope to put brakes on Eskom's unilateralism. We hope to win and put brakes on Eskom 's watering down of benefits and wages and we are going to put a big fight," he said. The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) and Solidarity have also rejected Eskom's offer. The unions have been in negotiations with Eskom since April.

Solidarity said it thought an agreement was within reach last week after Eskom made an informal wage offer of eight percent and indicated that the housing allowance would significantly increase in the next three years.

The union has now referred its wage dispute to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.

Numsa said it was "not a striking-frenzy union", but a strike could take place if it came to the push.

Numsa and the NUM are pushing for a 13% increase.