Trade union Solidarity announced today that it had accepted Eskom’s offer of a wage increase of 7,5% for this year, a 7% increase for years two and three with a guaranteed increase equal to the CPI on housing, as well as a once-off cash payment of R5 000 after taxes. Solidarity added that it would now do everything within its power to stabilise the power grid.
“Given the current circumstances, it is a very fair offer. For all our members across South Africa the right thing to do now would be to help prevent the economy from being hampered by an unreliable power supply,” said Solidarity Chief Executive Dr Dirk Hermann.
According to Dr Hermann, the trade union once again called on both Eskom and the SAPS to take drastic action against criminal elements that sabotage the infrastructure and intimidate workers. “For the past week, Solidarity members assisted under difficult circumstances to keep South Africa’s lights burning. Some of Solidarity’s members slept in power stations despite threats of assault and threats that their cars and houses would be set alight,” Dr Hermann said.
Dr Hermann also said that Solidarity had called on Eskom and other trade unions to identify the criminal elements so that criminal charges can be laid against them. The trade union also requested that the Hawks start investigations so those involved in corrupt activities at Eskom could be prosecuted too. “The fact that R19 billion of Eskom money has been wasted and no one has been prosecuted in this regard and not a cent of the money has been recovered all make for a cauldron that is boiling over in the form of labour unrest, among other things,” Hermann said.
Dr Hermann pointed out that the bonus issue has not been settled yet and that it would be dealt with at another forum. “It is hard to expect employees to accept that no bonuses will be paid when individuals at Eskom have enriched themselves unlawfully without there being any consequences for their actions,” Hermann concluded.