Employees at Eskom Rotek Industries have gone on strike on Tuesday 29 September, protesting over a grievance with labour brokers.
Rotek Industries is a maintenance support subsidiary for Eskom, and a number of the protesting workers are employed at the company on a part-time basis via labour brokers.
Employees have accused newly-appointed labour brokers of not paying them in full following the removal of the old labour brokers which were responsible for the remuneration of many employees.
The issue between the protesting employees and the power utility is currently before the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration (CCMA).
Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha told MyBroadband that the power utility is aware of the protest action, which consists mostly of temporary employees.
“Eskom is aware of the protest action by workers employed by temporary employment service (TES) providers around power stations in Mpumalanga,” Eskom said.
“The workers have raised a series of complaints against TES, including demands to be directly employed by Eskom on a full-time basis. Eskom is committed to a speedy and sustainable resolution of the issues raised.”
He added that there should be no disruption to the national power generation system.
“We have taken measures to minimize any disruptions to the production of electricity, and as such, Eskom does not expect there to be major problems with the production and supply of electricity,” Eskom said.
Labour unions call for executives to resign
This follows after South Africa’s second-biggest labour union called for Eskom’s board and senior management to resign as it rejected the finding that cleared the utility’s chief operating officer in an investigation over a contract that resulted in payment disputes.
The unions called for this change following an investigation and court judgement on a payment dispute with contract Aveng which found COO Jan Oberholzer to be cleared of all wrongdoing.
The South African Federation of Trade Unions argued that Eskom’s findings didn’t represent what was found in the investigations.
It also objected to the treatment of a whistleblower who reported alleged wrongdoing to a government-convened judicial commission.
Eskom noted last week that the grievance against Oberholzer had been closed, and it addressed the negative effect of unfounded allegations against senior executives.
“The Eskom board strongly condemns persistent, unfounded, and scurrilous allegations against Mr Oberholzer, which have not only served to distract management’s attention away from the very critical job of correcting the poor performance of Eskom’s generation plant but have also unnecessarily brought disrepute to Eskom and dragged the name of a key and dedicated employee into non-existing corruption scandals.”
“The board wishes to affirm its full confidence in Mr Oberholzer’s integrity and will continue to lend him all the necessary support to enable him to fully perform his job at Eskom,” Eskom said.