Union slams Eskom 'racism'

Getrude Makhafola

Getrude Makhafola

Members of the Cosatu-affiliated National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa at Eskom say they will embark on a national strike within two weeks.

The union said it would down tools over the outsourcing of training colleges that employed about 400 Numsa members.

Eskom sold its training colleges at an auction.

Numsa spokesman Mziwakhe Hlangani said the employees would not have the same benefits they enjoy working for the parastatal.

"What irks us is that black employees who worked in these colleges are the ones who would be transferred while their white counterparts would be considered for career advancements at Eskom's departments. That is a racially motivated plan by Eskom," said Hlangani.

Eskom spokesman Fani Zulu denied the allegations of racism.

"Their claims are unsubstantiated. There are a lot of black workers and white workers who chose to take severance packages and some who chose to stay," said Zulu.

He said Eskom would continue to engage the union "though they walked out of the negotiation forum".

Zulu said the union had been negotiating "for some time with Eskom" and had reached a deadlock last Friday.

Hlangani. said the union filed a dispute with the CCMA that day.

"The strike will be announced in 15 days," he said.