Johannesburg - Eskom, contractors and trade unions have signed a pact to steady labour relations at two new power stations under construction, the parastatal said on Wednesday.
"The new partnership agreement will ultimately replace the old Project Labour Agreements [PLA] which governed the Medupi and Kusile sites, and has been signed by Eskom, the contractors who employ most of the labour, and organised labour at both sites," Eskom CEO Brian Dames said.
The agreement was aimed at ensuring "consistent and acceptable treatment" of workers at Kusile in Mpumalanga, and Medupi in Limpopo.
The agreement was concluded after talks in the past few weeks.
"This... commits all the partners... to work together to deliver Medupi and Kusile and provide the new capacity needed to support growth and development for South Africa," Dames said.
Earlier in the year, workers at Medupi brought construction to a halt for almost eight weeks by striking. The strike ended when the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) and contractors reached a resolution on the PLA.
Part of the agreement was that workers get a once-off payment of R2000, plus a month's salary. They would also get an interest-free loan to the value of 90 hours of work, which they could pay back over six months.
In March, Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba said the December 2013 deadline for Medupi to start delivering power would not be changed. He urged Eskom to do more to improve labour relations between unions and contractors.
Only contractors and labour were signatories to the previous agreements.
Dames said the new agreement would enable the finalisation of new site-specific agreements at Medupi and Kusile and would replace current policies and agreements.
However, the new agreement would not replace existing industry forums and bargaining structures.
All parties agreed to establish partnership forums within which any outstanding issues could be resolved.
The partnership agreement provides for:
- a minimum wage for all hourly paid contractor employees;
- standardised pay rates within each company, across companies and within the same industries. The contractors must ensure that pay scales are applied consistently;
- a new central wage bureau to aid standardisation and;
- parties to appoint a task team to address skills development and training needs for employees and employers.