Eskom faces fresh nightmare to fix gender pay gaps
Report finds that men get bigger pay packets, while there are also racial inequalities
Women working at Eskom earn on average 5% less than men doing the same job, according to a report compiled by auditing firm Deloitte.
The report, covering 41,000 of Eskom’s 47,000 employees, shows that men working for the electricity utility earn on average between 2% and 14% more than women.
At management and executive level, salary grades 14 to 19, men earn between 7% and 9% more on average.
The report, finalised in October 2016, was commissioned by Eskom after the utility signed a two-year wage agreement with the National Union of Mineworkers and Solidarity.
The agreement, which comes to an end in June, set out Eskom’s commitment to eradicating pay disparities with a four-phase plan.
Deloitte found that “inequalities exist in terms of gender and race” and that, in comparison, the salary ratio “is in favour of males for the majority of grades”.
The report also found that, on average, white workers earned more than their black counterparts.Asked to comment, Eskom told Times Select: “The report in question made recommendations to Eskom ... however our approach is based on a pragmatic and defendable approach. Hence we resolved to approach the matter on a more focused job-by-job approach rather than using averages across jobs and grades.
“There are some jobs where female employees earn more than their male counterparts, but suffice it to say Eskom is committed to correcting unjustified race and gender disparities.”
Eskom has implemented the first three phases but has failed to put measures in place to adhere to the fourth phase, the deadline for which December 1 2016.
The fourth phase would have involved salary adjustments to fix gaps between the minimum and maximum wages in each grade. At the time of the report, the average bandwidth across the salary grades was 50%.
Deloitte put an estimated price tag of R2,145-billion on simply fixing the differences between minimum and maximum salaries and benefits in the various grades.
But the process stalled, mainly owing to a lack of funds.
The utility said: “Eskom has started the process of narrowing the salary bandwidth. Narrowing the bandwidth is not synonymous with ‘lowering’ the bandwidth. Eskom is confident that the approach adopted to narrow the bandwidth is appropriate and will work in favour of the correction of unjustified race and gender disparities because there was a degree of unfairness inherent in the previous salary bandwidth.”In March last year, Eskom human resources head Elsie Pule warned in an internal memorandum that “the delay in implementing the income differentials will result in employees having to be back-paid as per the phased approach agreed upon”.
Eskom has a basic salary bill of roughly R15-billion, excluding expenditure on medical aid and pensions.
As the utility struggles to find cash to fund its operations and repay debt, calls for cutting the “bloated” workforce have been reiterated.
Eskom would need to cut about 10,000 jobs to alleviate immediate liquidity issues, industry experts have said.
Eskom told Times Select it had, in December 2017, implemented the “initial correction for the majority of the employees who are in unionised structures, and in April 2018 for the non-unionised, managerial-level employees”.