Employees Cry Foul

In February some national media houses reported about units drowning in ash at Medupi Power Station as contractors was forced to withdraw.

This was after Clyde Bergemann Africa (CBZ), which was contracted to supply and construct the dust handling units withdrew its staff from the power station.

At that stage, CBZ director Jeremy Kirsch confirmed to Moneyweb that the business was placed in business rescue.

Some of the disgruntled employees, who accuse the company of not paying them for February work approached Ntshebele last week to share their frustrations.

Among their complains include:

● Getting only payslips and no salary for February.

● Certificate of service with wrong details that limit their actual service at the company.

● No skills development was done as per the SSA development agreement.

● Termination of contract which did not affect the company’s management on site.

The employees say their contracts which were left with 18 months were terminated on the 22 February.

They were told this was done as a result of company being under business rescue and heading for liquidation.

To their surprise they learnt that a new company has taken over CBZ responsibilities and did not bring them in to continue with the work.

Ntshebele sent a list of questions to CBZ executives and they did not respond even two weeks later.

In an e-mail communication with Eskom Medupi, the power utility says they are aware of the situation between CBZ and the employees unpaid as CBZ has formally informed them that they were placed into Business Rescue as of the 6th February 2019.

“With regards to unpaid former employees,  Eskom has urged CBZ in terms of available contractual clauses to ensure that it remedy the situation. CBZ reported that they held a mass meeting with all their employees on the 18 February 2019 whereby the Business Rescue Practitioner addressed employees regarding Business Rescue Proceedings.

The aggrieved employees,  as protected by labour law, may also follow dispute resolution processes to enforce the contractor to pay them accordingly.

Asked if Medupi could intervene to facilitate an amicable agreement or a move to assist terminated employees with joining a new contractor that takes over,the company says it has not yet appointed a contractor to officially take over the scope of work for CBZ.

“In a case where intervention is required,  Medupi Site Specific collective agreement is in place as a structure enabling contractors,  employees and trade unions to formally engage one another on all employment or labour relations matters pertaining to the project. Due processes are followed wherein the incoming contractor is encouraged to give preference to the affected employees”.

In addition Eskom Medupi says CBZ  only has a skeleton team onsite who are finalising handover to Eskom in order to comply with contractual obligations.

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