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Numsa: Medupi workers working under hazardous and appalling conditions!

16 May 2012, Posted in Press Releases

IRVIN JIM, General Secretary of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) on April 16, 2012, undertook a visit to Medupi, Limpopo province, as part of his fulfilling his constitutional obligations of interacting with workers in all the sectors as organised by the union.

The union has been receiving numerous complaints or grievances from these workers at Medupi in Limpopo province.

A number of illegal and some violent demonstrations have engulfed Medupi informed by appalling and hazardous working conditions faced by these workers.

On Monday 16 April 2012, NUMSA General Secretary attended a General Meeting organised by NUMSA at Medupi to garner and solicit a deeper understanding of the complaints and frustrations faced by the workers.

After listening attentively of the legitimate and genuine grievances raised by the workers, it was apparent that there exist high levels of frustration and despondency.

The General Secretary was extremely shocked and dismayed with the kind of ill-treatment of workers who are still subjected to old apartheid Bantu, backward and primitive working conditions.

These terrible conditions faced by the workers served as a reminder on the apartheid baas mentality held by some to maintain and return the old apartheid Bantu labour working conditions.

As NUMSA we left with no option, but to confront these challenges in the theatre of battles as part of improving the conditions of our members.

We call on the ANC- led government, particularly the Minister of Public Enterprises and ESKOM ruling oligarchy to quickly intervene by stopping delivery of what is regarded by our members to be rotten food.

To this effect, workers have embarked on a hunger strike for weeks now.

We have since called on the profit-driven company Murray and Robert to stop serving this food, and instead it must make provision of temporary food allowance.

We refuse to allow our members to be treated like pigs, and be given rotten food, whilst the bosses’ dogs are fed healthy dog’s food.

We are extremely angry by the continuation of delivery of this food by Murray and Roberts, after we have requested them to stop feeding our members pig’s food.

If Murray and Roberts sees our members as pigs and continue serving such rotten food, we will be left with no option but to withdraw from the Project labour agreement (PLA).

This will plunge Medupi project into serious stagnation and it can cause serious delays that will be too bad for the country.

We are further irritated by what appears to be apartheid racial demographics where all key positions of authority at Murray and Roberts in the site are occupied by white males.

What is even worse is the abuse of power by the very same white managers, wherein their family members or spouses are being employed with any form of experience or knowledge of the work.

What is also extremely disturbing as reported in the General Meeting is the crisis or shortage housing for the workers working on the site.

In the main workers are sleeping in overcrowded houses given the fact that workers on the site come from different parts of the country.

The workers who appear to be taken care of are those coming from other countries.

The union will be investigating why so many workers are imported to work in South Africa and workers are questioning the issue of scarce skill that is presented as reason for such importation of labour.

There is a long list of demands and problems that have been taken to management and they have not been resolved for months.

If these problems persist and remain unresolved, we will be left with no option but to take workers for a legal and protected strike until such time solutions are found on all matters and neglected demands of our members for quite a long time.

Issued by:
IRIVN JIM, NUMSA General Secretary
Castro Ngobese, National Spokesperson – 083 627 5197


Numsa Press Release