The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) says it expects Eskom to refrain from instituting disciplinary action against employees who engaged in unprotected strike action.
NUMSA and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) have signed a wage deal with the power utility of 7% across the board and R400 hikes in housing allowance.
Eskom has been implementing rolling blackouts due to further losses in generation capacity amid the impact of labour unrest and maintenance backlogs.
“The constitution of South Africa guarantees that every worker has the right to strike. It is a constitutional right. It is just that workers at Eskom are deemed essential which means that if they go on strike it means that the strike is unprotected, not illegal. As NUMSA we made it clear that we do not expect any disciplinary action for what happened with the protest especially because they were pushed by Eskom. Eskom started the wage talks and collapsed them which angered workers and caused them to protest. So as far as we are concerned, if Eskom had done the right thing from day one we would not be in this mess,” says NUMSA’s national spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola.
VIDEO: Unions brief media on Eskom’s wage agreement: