Claims average Eskom employee earns R789k a year 'hogwash': union

14 June 2018 - 07:00 By Nico Gous And Nomahlubi Jordaan
Economist Mike Schüssler tweeted on Tuesday the average employee at the power utility earned R789‚000‚ according to Eskom’s annual report for 2017.
Economist Mike Schüssler tweeted on Tuesday the average employee at the power utility earned R789‚000‚ according to Eskom’s annual report for 2017.
Image: Mark Wessels

The National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (Numsa) have rubbished claims that the average employee at Eskom earns R789‚000 per year.

Economist Mike Schüssler tweeted on Tuesday the average employee at the power utility earned R789‚000‚ according to Eskom’s annual report for 2017.

“On average they fall within the top 1% or 2% of household income. When richest 2% strike South Africa has a victimhood problem! Much like an owner of R260m upgrade says ‘poor pitiful me’.”

Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola called it “absolute hogwash” and said the average employee earns R135‚000 per year.

“There is a huge gap between ordinary workers and senior managers. In 2001 there were 80 executives‚ now there are 500 and they earn a lot of money.”

Hlubi-Majola said they would not strike if the average worker earned R700‚000.

“Negotiations would not have deadlocked. This is pure‚ false propaganda and we reject it.”

Schüssler said Eskom is in “real big trouble”.

“Sacrifices will have to be made … It’s a huge‚ gigantic mess‚” he said.

He added that consumers and taxpayers cannot be the only ones who are expected to pay more or the country could be downgraded.

“Even if you don’t pay for your electricity‚ the stuff that you consume uses electricity and you will pay for that … Paraffin is extracted at a refinery that uses electricity.”

The National Union of Mineworkers (Num) spokesperson Livhuwani Mammburu said that if Schüssler's tweet was true, then it was "an insult to our members".

Eskom has dragged the National Energy Regulator (Nersa) to court after the regulator turned down the power utility’s request to increase the cost of electricity.

Currently it costs more to produce electricity than Nersa allows it to recoup from tariffs. The company also sits with a huge debt burden of R367-billion‚ increasing by about R70-billion a year.

Nersa quoted a recent World Bank report when they said the average salary at Eskom was R708‚000.  

Eskom said on Wednesday it cannot guarantee security of electricity supply‚ as workers embark on illegal industrial action and plan lunchtime pickets this week.  

Wage negotiations with unions deadlocked last week leading to Numsa and Num declaring disputes. The unions are demanding wage hikes of between 9% and 15%‚ but Eskom offered 0% citing financial constraints.


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