South African labour unions reject Eskom's latest wage rise offer

South African labour unions reject Eskom’s latest wage rise offer. At a third round of wage negotiations, the three recognized trade unions at troubled South African power provider Eskom rejected its revised 5.25% pay increase offer, the company announced on Friday.

Since April, Solidarity, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) have been in negotiations with the utility, which is currently enforcing the worst power outages in history and has been stuck in a financial crisis for year.

South African labour unions reject Eskom’s latest wage rise offer

Eskom said in a statement it had raised its offer to a final one of 5.25%, up from an earlier offer of 4.5% and an initial proposal of 3.75%.

The unions want wage hikes of between 9.5% and 12%.

NUM and NUMSA had initially demanded a 15% increase in wages while Solidarity sought 10.1%.

“We rejected the proposal (Eskom’s latest offer) because we feel that Eskom can do better. Food inflation is extremely high, and the cost of fuel and basic goods has skyrocketed,” NUMSA said in a statement.

“And to make matters worse, the South African Reserve Bank has hiked interest rates, which means our members are going to struggle even more to make ends meet.”

The governor of South Africa’s central bank called the decision to boost the main interest rate to a 14-year high as “bitter medicine” required to control inflation.

On June 13 and 14, a fourth round of negotiations between Eskom and unions will take place.

“Eskom is hopeful that it and the labour unions will find each other for the benefit of the company and in the best interest of the country,” it said.