ESKOM’s actions are cynical and declaration of War, says NUMSA!
Thursday 15 September 2011
The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) declared a dispute on August 26, 2011 and has been fighting at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) pertaining to the aborted wage negotiations with state-owned power producer Eskom for wage demands for 2011 as per recognition agreements in line with the Labour Relations Act (LRA).
The ill-informed and childish tactics by Eskom to unilaterally enforce wage increases for 2011 without any agreement reached at the bargaining table is cynical and a declaration of war with workers.
The 7% wage offer that Eskom wants to shove into workers pockets was rejected by our members through a transparent and democratic process at a plant level as presented by our bargaining representatives.
This is what our members are prepared to strike for:
· A 13% wage increment across the board;
· A six(6) months paid maternity leave;
· A prohibition and banning of labour brokers, and permanent employment of all workers employed through labour brokers; and
· A Housing Allowance increment by R2500-00
The demands by Eskom workers are in line with the COSATU-led Living Wage campaign given the triple crisis of poverty, deepening inequalities and massive levels of unemployment in the country.
Eskom has consciously or unconsciously failed to concede to these legitimate and genuine demands, but instead it runs to organs of class rule, the courts, in order for the not-so class neutral courts to mitigate over industrial disputes.
This strategy or agenda by Eskom to use courts to suppress workers legitimate rights to strike as informed by Bill of Rights in our Constitution will be defeated and smashed with the same vigour and resoluteness we smashed employers during apartheid for suppressing or muzzling workers rights.
Eskom should be weary of the fact that it is strategically located as a state-owned company that should supposedly be informed by governments’ overall agenda of creating decent jobs and building sustainable livelihoods.
Therefore Eskom cannot advance a liquiditionist approach and assume an anti-union bashing posture by subjecting workers to poverty wages.
Eskom should be playing an exemplary and cadreship role in squeezing or close the huge existing income disparities between an ordinary skilled worker and a manager at Eskom, as opposed to being a rented agent of reproducing and retaining the old apartheid income inequalities and privileges.
We hold the view that the only way to exert pressure, or force Eskom to concede to workers demands, is through maximum unity of workers and close working relations by the three (3) unions organising at Eskom, namely NUMSA, NUM and Solidarity.
We should all rise-above territorial or ideological differences in the interest of the workers. Our unity is sacrosanct as we confront head-on Eskom’s rotten cowboy tactics!
It is within this context that NUMSA members will be joining their counterparts in NUM and Solidarity this coming Saturday 17 September 2011, to hand-over a Memorandum of Demands to Eskom.