Num declares war against Eskom
Johannesburg - Marches and pickets planned by the National
Union of Mineworkers (Num) were "the beginning of big wars to come"
with parastatal electricity supplier Eskom, the union said on Friday.
"The working lives of Eskom management will never be
the same again. They will have sufficient stress to deal with,"
spokesperson Job Matsepe said in a statement.
Num, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) and
Solidarity were demanding a 13% wage increase.
Talks with Eskom deadlocked on Wednesday, with the employer
offering 7%, backdated to July 1.
Matsepe said Eskom was resistant to a minimum service level
Such an agreement would allow certain workers to go on
strike, but prevent core employees essential to the functioning of the company
from downing tools.
Eskom spokesperson Hilary Joffe denied that Eskom was
opposed to this type of agreement.
"In the past we have had that agreement, but it has
since lapsed. Eskom has negotiated with unions towards making a new one, but
there is not one in place at the moment."
A strike by Eskom workers would not therefore be legally
Num also demanded that Eskom not impose a provident fund
scheme on its workers.
"Under a provident fund scheme, the risks associated
with fluctuations in the economy are on the worker, under the previous scheme
it was the employer who absorbed the risks," Matsepe said.
Joffe said that Eskom had its own independent pension
scheme, on which the employer and employees had equal representation. Any
changes to the scheme would have to be proposed by these trustees.
Num members would converge in Durban on Saturday to hand over
a list of demands to Eskom.