Cash-hungry Eskom managers are not helping the cause of the beleaguered power utility, notes Legalbrief. According to Rapport, thousands of Eskom managers are litigating against their employer for larger salaries and bonuses.

In a week in which Eskom posted a R20bn loss and attributed it partly to a 13% escalation of personnel costs to R33bn, it emerged that 180 to 200 senior managers – each earning between R1.5m and R3m per year – will be in the CCMA this month to challenge 0% increases.

They are demanding the same increases as middle managers, who received 4.5%.

However, notes Rapport, as many as 6 500 middle managers in salary bands between R700 000 and R2m per year have already won a CCMA case to get the same increase as lower income earners who are part of the bargaining unit. They got 7.5%, 7% and 7% in a three-year deal after devastating industrial action, rolling blackouts and intervention from Minister Pravin Gordhan last year.

Eskom is taking the CCMA award for the middle managers on review to the Labour Court.

Eskom warns in its annual report that it expects industrial action on the issue of performance bonuses and that senior employees are ‘mobilising increasingly’ and may join industrial action. It noted, too, that it had to pay out R1.3bn in the past financial year for once-off bonuses of R10 000 after tax to get its workers back in the plants.

Solidarity’s Deon Reyneke says senior managers’ claims could cost an additional R200m to R300m a year, but litigation involving the thousands of middle managers has not been costed, notes Rapport.

He said it was an unfair perception that Eskom workers are overpaid and spoiled. Workers cannot be punished for mistakes they didn’t make, he added.

In the financial statements, it also emerged that Eskom paid huge severance packages and notice payments to senior managers retrenched in December 2018.

Former acting GM for transmission, Willy Majola, got a salary of R1.8m for the uncompleted year of service and R3.8m as a golden handshake. Former GM for client services, Ayanda Noah received a total package of R9m, while former distribution GM Mongezi Ntsokolo got R9.4m for the year.

Full report in Rapport (subscription needed)

See also a City Press report