- The National Union of Mineworkers has accused Eskom of misleading the public about the average salary at the power utility.
- Eskom said the average salary stood at R737 000 per annum, but NUM contends that staff at the bargaining unit could not earn more than R650 460.
- A statement from NUM's negotiators lamented an "apartheid wage gap" at the power utility.
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has disputed claims by Eskom in a statement that the average salary of an Eskom employee stood at R737 000 per annum, contending that employees negotiating their salaries at a bargaining unit could not earn more than R650 460.
The union said that the statement, in which the R737 000 figure was mentioned, was a show of bad faith from Eskom. A statement from NUM's negotiators lamented what they called an "apartheid wage gap" at the power utility.
The union, which is an affiliate of the ANC-aligned labour federation, Cosatu, is currently negotiating wages with Eskom and says its members at the power utility demand a 15% wage increase.
"The highest amount that can be earned by a bargaining unit employee is R650 460, while the lowest salary is R174 180. Eskom is intentionally misleading the public to gain public sympathy. We have noticed this thread of misleading information from Eskom," the NUM statement said.
Eskom's interim 2020 annual report shows that the power utility's 44 772 group employees recorded current unaudited employee benefit obligations of R4.5 billion in September 2020, compared to R4.02 billion in the same period of 2019.
"Due to different remuneration practices across our bargaining unit, managerial and executive employee categories, Eskom has not developed an organisation-wide remuneration policy," the integrated report said.
The 2020 integrated report said, despite the reduction in headcount, employee costs remained stable because of a 7% salary increase for bargaining unit employees, in line with the three-year wage agreement concluded in the prior year.
The report said employees also got a 2.8% salary increase for middle management and qualified and senior management. Overtime costs were contained at R2.3 billion, the report said.
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Eskom had earlier said that union demands were unaffordable.
The NUM, however, said that wage inequality meant taking an average was not an accurate reflection of earnings at the power utility.
"We must also acknowledge that not everyone at the non-bargaining is earning a lot of money. Most of the black professionals are earning less than their white counterparts due to the apartheid wage gap that is still in existence in Eskom," the statement said.
The statement maintained that the NUM demands were reasonable and achievable, saying workers deserve a "reasonable share" of the money in Eskom coffers.
According to the Eskom 2020 integrated annual financial statement, the power utility was able to contain employee benefit costs at R16.7 billion, which stood at R16.4 billion in September of 2019. Eskom did this through headcount reduction and sub-inflation salary increases at managerial levels in October 2019.