South Africa 3.7.2014 06:00 am

Numsa vows to plunge country into darkness

Numsa warned on Wednesday that SA could face a complete blackout if it’s demands for a double-digit from Eskom are not met.

Switch off the power. This was the message from dozens of Eskom employees who picketed outside the power utility’s headquarters in Megawatt Park yesterday.

They (workers) vowed to embark on a “full blown” strike if their demands are not met.

Labour is currently demanding double digit wage increases of 12%, while the employer is offering 5.6%.

Speaking to The Citizen, one of the employees David Ndlovu, who works as a technician said he was not worried about the possibility of having to face disciplinary action for taking part in an industrial action, as Eskom has been classified as an “essential services” company.

“I am not bothered at all, in fact I am prepared for a full blown strike because I have had enough of the slave salary that we have been getting from the bosses who continue to pocket millions of rands in wages and bonuses every year.

“The time has come for us as workers to fight for living wages that will enhance to support our families during these trying economic times,” Ndlovu said.

Striking National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) members hold placards during a picket, 02 July 2014, outside the Eskom offices in Sunninghill Johannesburg. Numsa members are demanding 12 percent wage increase and R1000 housing allowance. Picture: Alaister Russell

Striking National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) members hold placards during a picket, 02 July 2014, outside the Eskom offices in Sunninghill Johannesburg. Numsa members are demanding 12 percent wage increase and R1000 housing allowance. Picture: Alaister Russell

Another technicians who did not want to be named, echoed Ndlovu’s sentiments, saying the time has come for workers to stand united and fight for decent salaries.

“I am not worried about the disciplinary steps Eskom intends taking against us for picketing and possibly embarking on a full blown strike, because we have a constitutional right to strike.

“The ball is in Eskom’s court and they must either give us what we want, or face a big strike, because it is not an easy decision to make to go on strike, but we don’t have a choice as workers as we want to provide for our families too.”

Meanwhile the picketers hoisted placards reading “Eskom we want our money-we work day and night…we are tired of staying in shacks while big cats enjoy millions of our sweat.”

Striking National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) members hold placards during a picket, 02 July 2014, outside the Eskom offices in Sunninghill Johannesburg. Numsa members are demanding 12 percent wage increase and R1000 housing allowance. Picture: Alaister Russell

Striking National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) members hold placards during a picket, 02 July 2014, outside the Eskom offices in Sunninghill Johannesburg. Picture: Alaister Russell

The was a bit of a delay in getting the memorandum of demands handed over to the employers as agitated picketers demanded that the CEO himself come.

Eventually, Eskom general manager Matome Makwela accepted the memorandum and promised workers that their grievances will be looked at before a response come through.

The Labour Court issued an order on Tuesday barring the Numsa members from striking at it’s plants.

Commenting on this, Numsa’s head of bargaining Stephen Nhlapo the court interdict infringes on the worker’s right to strike.

Yesterday’s picket took place amid an indefinite strike by more than 200 000 workers in the engineering and metals sector, who are also Numsa members.

 

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