Union serves strike notice

2010-06-30 16:03

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) today formally notified

Eskom of its intention to go on strike next week over wages, spokesperson Lesiba

Seshoka said.

Seshoka said: “Today we started mobilising our members for the

strike.”

The possibility of the industrial action being illegal because

Eskom was an essential service “doesn’t matter”, he said, adding that: “We will

cross that bridge when we get to it. We have already notified them of our

intention to go on strike. They cannot tie us to a tree and then tell us we

can’t do anything when abused because we cannot untie ourselves. We are going on

strike and they cannot do anything about that.”

Seshoka said Eskom’s most recent offer was for an 8.5% wage

increase and a R1 000 housing allowance.

Unions have demanded a 9% increase and a R2 500 housing

allowance.

Seshoka said the NUM would have been willing to compromise on the

wage increase only if management had acceded to its housing allowance

demand.

He said union leaders were busy with logistics today to ready

themselves for the strike. Of the meeting Eskom said it was organising for

today, Seshoka said: “We never planned to meet with them. Why would they

organise meetings when we have rejected their offer and they have nothing new on

the table?”

Eskom human resources director Bhabhalazi Bulunga said the parastal

had not received the strike notice by 2pm: “Even if they notify us of the

strike, it remains illegal. It’s like telling someone you are going to murder

them, that doesn’t make the act legal.”

He said NUM was risking committing itself to illegal action and

getting its members arrested: “We are an essential service and therefore the

security agencies will take over and arrest anyone engaging in illegal

activities.”

He said Eskom was unable to meet with Solidarity and the National

Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), its other unions today: “We were busy with

internal meetings, trying to put contingency plans in place in light of the

rumours of the strike.

“Besides, they are also still consulting their members, we did not

want to push them,” he said.

Solidarity said it would make an announcement at 2.30pm about the

wage negotiations following its meetings in the morning.

Numsa spokesperson Alex Mashilo said the union was still consulting

its members on what action to take.

 

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