Johannesburg, South Africa — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 22 September 2011 – The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) says that if it does not win its court appeal to stop national power utility Eskom Holdings from implementing a 7% unilateral wage increase it will go on strike.
“If we don’t win in court we will win in industrial action,” NUM spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka told I-Net Bridge/ Business LIVE. “Not winning in court would be a minor setback,” he said.
The Labour Court reserved judgement in the case yesterday until tomorrow, after the trade union lodged an application for leave to appeal the judgment made by the court on Monday. It dismissed the NUM’s urgent application to interdict Eskom from going ahead with the wage increases. The court ruled that NUM’s application did not satisfy the requirements of an interdict, and the application was dismissed with costs.
The NUM demanded a 13% wage increase, but at the heart of its fight with Eskom was a call for a minimum service level agreement. This would allow the trade union to establish what percentage of core staff was required during a strike. Without such an agreement, none of Eskom’s employees can embark on protected strikes.
Eskom has previously halted a planned strike by arguing that the provision of national power was an essential service.
“We believe we can strike, even if they (Eskom) are of a different view,’ said Seshoka.
The trade union said earlier this week that it was “emboldened and determined” to take the war to Eskom and “would do anything legally possible to challenge and win over the parastatal.”