Eskom and union deal averts strike

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - BUSINESS -

ESKOM and unions rep­re­sent­ing its work­ers reached an agree­ment this week that will avoid pos­si­ble strike action.

“We have widely con­sulted with our mem­bers on th­ese pro­pos­als and they have agreed,” Na­tional Union of Minework­ers (NUM) ne­go­tia­tor Paris Mashego said in a state­ment on Thurs­day.

“We will have an agree­ment in place to be signed by next week,” he said

“We’ve found each other as par­ties,” con­fir med Eskom spokesman Fanie Zulu.

Mashego and Zulu said the fi­nal de­tails were be­ing thrashed out and that the agree­ment was ex­pected to be signed on Mon­day.

The NUM, Sol­i­dar­ity and the Na­tional Union of Me­tal­work­ers of South Africa have ac­cepted a 10.5 per­cent wage in­crease.

How­ever, a last­ing agree­ment on a hous­ing sub­sidy has been put off un­til a later time.

“We’ve agreed on a process for go­ing for­ward,” said Zulu.

Unions were de­mand­ing a R5 000 hous­ing sub­sidy and wanted a set­tle­ment on the ques­tion to be part of any labour agree­ment.

Sol­i­dar­ity spokesman Jaco Kleyn­hans de­scribed it as the “make or break is­sue”.

Mashego said the unions and Eskom had agreed to “a process lead­ing to the fi­nal­i­sa­tion and im­ple­men­ta­tion of a hous­ing pol­icy and al­lowance be­fore De­cem­ber 1”.

Zulu said the util­ity had not com­mit­ted to any spe­cific hous­ing sub­sidy, but was will­ing to prom­ise “an agree­ment to look at is­sues of hous­ing at Eskom”.

He said the af­fected par­ties would “put to­gether a work­ing group which will have equal rep­re­sen­ta­tion from Eskom and unions”.

Kleyn­hans said, how­ever, that a com­mit­tee would not be enough and union mem­bers wanted clear time frames for im­ple­ment­ing a hous­ing sub­sidy. “The agree­ment must give as­sur­ances about when the hous­ing sub­sidy will be im­ple­mented We will only sign an agree­ment that stip­u­lates that,” he said.

A dead­line for this year was im­por­tant, he said. – Sapa

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