Thousands of workers at Medupi power plant – which is being constructed by South Africa’s power utility Eskom – stayed away from work on Monday, calling on their fired co-workers to be reinstated.
On Friday, Eskom fired workers for destroying property at the Medupi power plan and blocking employees from entering the construction site.
Labour disturbances and technical errors have multiplied costs at the coal-fired plant. The plant is likely to start partial operations in July. It could generate 800 megawatts of extra electricity at the time. “The site is not operational and there is no work being done. We are currently in negotiations with contractors and Eskom,” Steve Nhlapo head of collective bargaining for NUMSA told Reuters.
Once finished, the long-awaited plant would be South Africa’s first new power station in two decades. It will assist in addressing incessant power outages in South Africa, Africa’s most advanced economy.
Construction firm Murray & Roberts and engineering firm Actom, a unit of France’s Alstom SA, are some of the companies building the coal-fired power plant. The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) said it would fight the dismissals and threatened more strikes at the plant.(VENTURES AFRICA)