Eskom’s Medupi operations still suspended after protest

2013-01-17 08:35

Operations at the Medupi power station in Lephalale, Limpopo, remained suspended this morning after a protest by construction workers, Eskom said.

“We are not closed but most operations are suspended. However, there are people on site,” spokeswoman Hilary Joffe said.

“We are working with the contractors to engage with workers so we can get operations on the site back to normal as soon as possible.”

Yesterday, 25 workers were injured when violence broke out as strikers tried to stop buses from taking their colleagues to the construction site, Joffe said.

“There were disruptions to the bus transport and strikers pelted the buses with stones. As Eskom we do not condone violence,” she said.

“Yesterday’s protest mainly involved workers affiliated to the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) who are employed by Hitachi Kaefer and Murray & Roberts Projects,” she said.

Yesterday, Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim claimed management provoked the protest.

“We think that companies at Medupi are extremely mischievous and we think that there is a deliberate agenda to consistently create frustrations and to provoke workers for the sole intention of delaying the project so that they extend their benefits in that project.”

He said last week workers queried the bonuses they were paid.

On Friday about 1100 workers employed by Alstom Kentz at Medupi went on strike, resulting in the company locking them out.

Eskom said Medupi’s first unit was expected to start generating power to South Africa’s national grid by the end of the year.

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