Senior managers at Eskom are taking the power utility to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) to demand higher salaries and bonuses, Rapport reported.
These managers, who earn between R1.5-3 million per year, warned that strike action and load shedding are on the cards if their demands are not met.
They want a minimum salary increase of 4.7%, which is in line with the annual increase enjoyed by middle management.
Middle management, however, is also unhappy with their increase as it is lower than that of the unionised bargaining unit which received 7.5%.
Middle managers have also opened a dispute with Eskom and want to be included in the bargaining unit.
Eskom’s dismal financial situation
These higher salary demands come after Eskom announced the largest ever loss by a state-owned company in South Africa.
Last week Eskom revealed that it made a R20.7-billion loss over the past financial year and amassed net debt of R430.8 billion.
This level of debt will kill the company, and Eskom CFO Calib Cassim said it will need to be reduced to R200 billion to become sustainable.
For this to happen Eskom will need to significantly reduce expenditure, which includes cutting its bloated workforce.
This is unlikely to happen, however, as President Cyril Ramaphosa said Eskom is not allowed to retrench workers.
Eskom’s acting CEO Jabu Mabuza told Radio 702 that they are now looking at other ways to reduce their costs.
“The pain has to be taken by suppliers, customers, shareholders, employees, and management,” he said.
Numerous other problems at Eskom
Apart from Eskom overborrowing to the tune of R440 billion and its rising staff costs, it faces numerous other challenges.
Mabuza said Eskom is selling electricity at 90 cents which costs the company 112 cents to produce.
An additional problem is that many of the municipalities which it sells electricity to do not pay their bills. This amounts to around R40 billion.