Eskom will pay five temporary workers at last
ESKOM will at last pay part-time workers who have been waiting in vain for their salaries. And that, thanks to Consumer Line, includes the agent who accused Eskom of owing it millions of rands.
Last Monday, Sowetan ran an article highlighting the exploitation experienced by casual staff.
In response, the agent, Vionne Tembo of Insearch Recruitment Project, accused Eskom of owing her millions of rands and making it impossible for her to pay the five temporary employees.
The employees were placed at Eskom by Insearch Recruitment Project on a temporary basis to fill in for employees who were on maternity leave at Eskom's various offices. The temporary workers accused the placement agency of pocketing their money after receiving it from Eskom.
They said they had copies to prove that Eskom had paid the agent, but it turned out that Eskom had not done so.
Eskom has confirmed that it owes the placement agent the money and has offered to pay it as soon as possible.
Hilary Joffe, Eskom's national spokeswoman, said they were aware of the problem, but were waiting for Insearch Recruitment Project to submit the unpaid invoices.
Joffe said Eskom was aware that the supplier had asked the Public Protector to assist in the matter of outstanding payment.
"Eskom has engaged with both the public protector and the supplier on the matter. Eskom has requested the supplier to submit the unpaid invoices and is committed to making the payment once the outstanding invoices are submitted," Joffe said.
Vuyiswa Stephens, one of the five temps, said she had submitted her curriculum vitae (CV) to a number of placement agencies after she lost her job two years ago.
She said she had not been employed permanently since 2010, but had worked temporarily at various companies, especially to fill in for those on maternity leave.
Stephens said she was always paid for the work she did, but this was not the case with the work she did for Eskom.
Stephens said on the agreed payday, an Insearch employee told her she would not be paid because Eskom had not processed her invoice.
"As time went by I realised they were lying to me. Their excuses for not paying me kept changing every time I enquired," Stephens said.
But she said she continued working with the hope that the agency would pay her.
She said as proof of payment to Insearch, Eskom gave her her remittance advice showing all the paid invoices, including hers.
Perseverance Mothlaba said: "When you are desperate, you don't even realise that you are being exploited."
She said this was the second time Insearch had done this to her.
The first time was in 2010 when she was not paid for a two-week stint at Eskom.
She said she thought the Insearch chief executive was feeling guilty when she phoned her to tell her she would be placed at Eskom for three months.
"I never thought that she would do the same thing to me again," Mothlaba said.
She accepted the placement and three months later she owed money to friends, neighbours and relatives who had helped her to pay her bus fare to work, she said.
Lihle Nhlapho said she received her salary intermittently.
"One month I would be paid and the next I would be borrowing money from sympathetic colleagues because I would not be paid," Nhlapho said.
Oratile Makhudu said she was not paid her salary last month.
Makhudu said "This agent did not even interview me for any job."
She said she had submitted her CV and was given a three-month contract.
"I worked and I expected to be paid for it, but I was not paid," Makhudu said.
Tembo has now re-submitted the five employees' invoices and she is waiting for Eskom to pay them for the work they did.