Strike forces Medupi closure


Power utility Eskom has announced the halting of construction at its much troubled Medupi Power Station in Limpopo, after striking workers reportedly damaged infrastructure and company vehicles out of protest against the state-owned parastatal’s failure to have their wages increased.

Around 21 000 workers with links to the National Union of Metalworkers (NUMSA), downed tools on Wednesday after accusing Eskom of not only failing to meet their wage demands, but also forcing them to work under poor living conditions.

“During the strike, some of our buildings and vehicles were damaged. We have closed the site in order to determine the extent of the damage,” Eskom spokesperson, Khulu Phasiwe, was quoted by Reuters as saying.

“Any day of delays will unfortunately result in bigger delays and if the action continues beyond tomorrow, we will have a problem.”

In a statement yesterday, NUMSA Head of Collective Bargaining, Steve Nhlapo, said that Eskom should adhere to the demands of workers and that alleged eviction from their subsidised accommodation based on race, needs stamping out.

“The failure by Eskom to respond to these genuine and legitimate demands of workers will force the union to escalate its organisational muscle and power until these demands are met.

“Numsa is convinced that the workers' reasonable demands can be resolved by Eskom, without any undue disruption of work,” Independent News quoted him as saying.