City Power changes 'irregular' shifts

2013-09-09 16:53

Johannesburg electricity utility City Power had to change workers’ shifts because they were irregular and illegal.

Some employees worked 24-hour shifts, board chairman Frank Chikane told reporters at a briefing today to explain the way forward, following last week’s power outages.

“Not only is a 24-hour shift irregular, but it is illegal and dangerous, especially when you work with electricity. Safety is a concern,” he said.

City Power’s decision to change its shift system angered employees, who embarked on an unprotected strike. There were widespread power outages during the strike

Chikane said there had been an abuse of overtime shifts. Changing these would give the company an opportunity to hire more people.

“Instead of having people work irregular, 24-hour shifts, it would be conducive to reduce the hours to eight a day, and get in more skilled people.”

City Power managing director Sicelo Xulu said people were entrusted with substations, and that those who had the keys were responsible for last week’s power outages.

“It wasn’t people from outside, but those who have access... and know how the system works.... They walked in and switched off distributors,” he said.

Xulu said the company was co-operating with police investigators. Internal disciplinary processes would also take place.

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