[Debate] (Fwd) World Bank project exploitation: Medupi's workers revolt
pbond at mail.ngo.za
Tue Apr 17 18:41:35 BST 2012
(The site of the World Bank's largest-ever project loan, two years ago,
for $3.75 billion to construct the world's 4th largest coal-fired power
plant, in a place with very little water, now has a class struggle
underway. Not only is there an allegation of racially-biased nepotism,
it sounds like the contractors - including the ANC which has the boiler
contract as part of Hitachi-SA - are doing the old divide-and-conquer
trick with immigrant workers, unleashing potential xeno sentiments.)
*NUMSA: MEDUPI WORKERS WORKING UNDER HAZARDOUS AND APPALLING CONDITIONS!*
/17 April 2012/
*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
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.
*IRIVN JIM, NUMSA General Secretary*
Castro Ngobese, National Spokesperson -- 083 627 5197
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