South Africa’s Labour Union has slammed the country’s power authority, Eskom, for implementing a 1.5% pay increase for its staff despite wage negotiations still ongoing. 

According to Eskom, the salary increase will take effect from the 1st of July and will be financed by savings gained from evaluating employee benefits. The tensions between the two government bodies is under investigation by the country’s Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration (CCMA).

The National Union of Mineworkers’ energy sector coordinator, Khangela Baloyi, said Eskom is behaving unlawfully by implementing before all processes have been exhausted. “The only recourse we have is compulsory interest arbitration. Eskom is taking that away”. He said.

Sikonathi Mantshantsha CCMA spokesperson stated that “Any party dissatisfied with the process can take the matter on review at the Labor Court.”

Eskom struggles with plant maintenance and frequent power outages in the country. The power utility also suffers a debt of $28 billion and considered the initial demand for 15% wage increase by staff, exorbitant. 

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