Johannesburg - About 20 000 workers at Eskom's Medupi power plant have been locked out of the construction site on Thursday following a one-day strike over poor living conditions and higher pay, a union official told Reuters.
"The company decided to lock workers out. The site is closed, around 20 000 workers are off site," said Steve Nhlapo, head of collective bargaining for the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa).
Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe said this was untrue on Thursday. He told Fin24 that about 5 000 workers - including engineers - were inside Medupi working on synchronising the units, adding that the power station was not on a lock down.
He said the contractors' workers who participated in the illegal strike action yesterday were currently engaging with their managers.
“We’re currently engaging with the contractors and also the unions … in an effort to find a solution to the issues that were raised by the unions,” said Phasiwe. “The unions want feedback by tomorrow.”
Eskom shut down Medupi Power Plant to protect its property and workers on Wednesday, after Numsa went on strike at the plant.
Phasiwe said that, from Eskom's experience, people on strike intimidated those not on strike and sometimes caused damage to property, which is why they decided to shut down the plant.
"We will meet with reps of the trade union this afternoon to hear their issues," he told Fin24 on Wednesday.
Full interview with Eskom:
- Reuters and Fin24.