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Eskom gives unions option to settle pay talks

Eskom proposes to increase wages by 7% and offer housing allowances or raise wages by 7.5% this year and 7% in the following two years.

South Africa’s power utility gave unions two options to end more than a month of wage negotiations that have resulted in protests and electricity outages, the biggest labour group at the company said.

Eskom proposes to increase wages by 7% and offer housing allowances adjusted to the inflation rate under a three-year deal, or raise wages by 7.5% this year and 7% in the following two years, the National Union of Mineworkers said in an emailed statement late Tuesday. The negotiations will reconvene on July 27 after the union consults with members, Num said.

South Africa’s power grid was constrained after protesters blockaded roads and attacked staff when wage negotiations broke down last month because the utility said it couldn’t offer any pay increase due to poor finances. That forced Eskom to introduce rolling blackouts for the first time since 2015.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, the second-largest labor group at Eskom, will also take the offer back to its members, it said in a statement. The company has indicated that bonuses will be paid this year, Numsa said.

The latest options are within the Solidarity union’s mandate to accept, Deputy General Secretary Deon Reyneke said by phone.

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