NewsSouthern AfricaSouth Africa: Works at Eskom's Madupi plant face continued distruption


Posted on Monday, 13 April 2015 17:12

South Africa: Works at Eskom's Madupi plant face continued distruption

Photo©ReutersSouth African utility Eskom's new Medupi power plant continues to face disruption after thousands of workers stayed away from work on Monday.

NUMSA on Monday said the workers had not reported to work in protest of a mass firing at Medupi power plant that utility Eskom is building .

Last Friday, Steve Nhlapo, head of collective bargaining for the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), said union members decided to stay away from the plant in solidarity with the fired workers.

The labour strife began after about 1,700 workers were issued with dismissal notices for allegedly damaging property during a one-day strike last month over poor living conditions and higher pay.

Labour disruption and technical faults have increased costs at Eskom's Medupi coal-fired plant, expected to start generating 800 megawatts of extra electricity by July.

Last week, Eskom spokesman Khulu Phasiwe said that only some 3,000 of the 21,000 workers at the site were currently working.

Phasiwe said the dismissed workers were intimidating employees and forcing them off buses which shuttle them to the site, but the strike was not affecting work on Unit 6 of the plant, which is expected to start generating power in July.

"The site is not operational and there is no work being done. We are currently in negotiations with contractors and Eskom," Steve Nhlapo head of collective bargaining for NUMSA told Reuters.

Once fully complete, the long-delayed power plant would become South Africa's first new power station to come online in 20 years and help to address a chronic supply shortage.

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