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Cosatu strike will not affect Eskom

Johannesburg, South Africa — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 06 March 2012 – The countrywide Cosatu strike tomorrow will not affect electricity services in the country, according to the South African national power utility Eskom Holdings.

Reporting this, Fin24 says trade union federation Cosatu is embarking on a massive nationwide strike, which includes 34 marches. It is being supported by several other unions.

But Eskom spokesperson Hilary Joffe said the majority of Eskom’s workers did not belong to Cosatu-affiliated unions, and in any event electricity was an essential service, therefore disallowing its staff from striking.

“The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is probably the largest trade union representing Eskom workers, followed by National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) and Solidarity,” said Joffe.

“Eskom employees, however, are not permitted to participate in tomorrow’s planned protest action/stay-away, because electricity is designated as an essential service,” Joffe reiterated.

In terms of Section 77(1) of the Labour Relations Act (the section under which the protest is being held), only employees who are not engaged in an essential service or a maintenance service have the right to participate in protest action.