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Eskom granted Numsa strike interdict

The court ruled the parastatal’s projects are deemed to fall under essential services.

Numsa members march for better wages in Johannesburg. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom on Tuesday said the Labour Court granted an interdict preventing National Union of Metalworkers South Africa (Numsa) members from downing tools at the parastatal's plants.

This is because the power utility's projects are deemed essential services, which makes it illegal for workers at the plant to go on strike.

Eskom spokesperson Andrew Etzinger said, "The Labour Court granted an interdict that prevents Numsa members from striking. It also prevents them from intimidating workers from other trade unions."

The country's largest union warned if the power utility failed to allow its members to strike, an unprotected stoppage would take place.

About 5,000 Numsa members marched to the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa (Seifsa)'s offices in Johannesburg this afternoon where they handed over a memorandum of demands.

Striking workers want a 12 percent wage increase, a R1,000 housing allowance, and training and career opportunities for all workers.

Numsa gave Siefsa 48 hours to respond to demands.

If employers fail to do so, workers will go on an indefinite strike which could cripple an already weak economy.

Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) Secretary General Zwelinzima Vavi addressed thousands of Numsa members in the city centre today.

He says workers are fighting a political system which allows the exploration of workers, 20 years into democracy.

Vavi, who received a thunderous applause, said the strike was political in nature.

He told workers they have the right to down tools if employers don't respond to their demands.

"We want to exercise our right."

Vavi also used the platform to take a swipe at Gauteng Premier David Makhura for establishing a panel to discuss e-tolls, saying the system should be scrapped altogether.

Video: Numsa strike slideshow.

All pictures by EWN's Sebabatso Mosamo and Aletta Gardner.