No new Medupi, Kusile labour deal yet, but progress reported

Terence Creamer | 31 May 2013 | Engineering News

Power utility Eskom, its contractors and trade unions representing workers at the Medupi and Kusile power-station project sites have not been able to conclude a new labour agreement by the end of May as initially hoped. However, Eskom spokesperson Hilary Joffe said on Friday that significant progress had been made and that a deal could be finalised by the end of next week.

The talks, which are being facilitated by mediators, have been convened in an effort to renegotiate the troublesome project labour agreements (PLAs) and replace these with new ‘partnership agreements’.

The PLAs have been blamed for labour strife on both sites, with the Medupi project, in Limpopo, having been particularly strike prone – the site was closed for 10 weeks earlier in the year. Continue reading


Economic and social impact of infrastructure roll-out programme: briefing by Eskom and Transnet

PMG | 28 May 2013.

Date of Meeting:28 May 2013
Chairperson:Mr P Maluleke (ANC)

Eskom and Transnet briefed the Committee on progress made on the infrastructure roll-out program.

Eskom said that the funding for its build programme had been finalised. These infrastructure projects would lead to the creation of 40 000 jobs and an increase in the local supply of goods and services, as 50% of the budget would be spent locally. The Kriel and Duvha power stations had been refurbished. The delays in commissioning Medupi and Kusile power stations were because of logistics, the quality of boiler welds and the use of low grade steel in boiler manufacture. Continue reading

Progress being made on new labour deal for Medupi, Kusile

Terence Creamer | 23 May 2013 | Engineering News

Progress is being made on the overhaul of the problematic project labour agreement (PLA) at the Medupi and Kusile power-station sites, in Lephalale and Emalahleni respectively, with Eskom still optimistic that a new deal could be struck before the end of May.

However, the National Union of Metalworkers (Numsa) has warned that its attention could be diverted from the negotiations, owing to recent threats by one of the contractors on site to dismiss some of its members following a recent confrontation at the strike-prone Medupi site.

Continue reading

Coal for Eskom now top priority

06 May | Engineering News

SUN CITY ( – Securing coal for Eskom was now the number-one priority, South African Coal Roadmap chairperson Ian Hall said on Tuesday.

Addressing the twelfth Coaltrans Southern Africa coal conference at Sun City, the Anglo American Thermal Coal Projects GM said Eskom needed 60-million tons a year of new-mine coal to come on stream in the next few years and 120-million tons before 2020.

While a key requirement was to get the new mines up and running by 2015, water-use licences and environmental authorisations might present greater delays than obtaining mining rights.

“There’s not even a mandatory response time for water-use licences,” he added. Continue reading

Numsa wants centralised wage talks for Medupi, Kusile and Ingula

Sarah Evans | 15 April 2013 | M&G

National Union of Metal Workers SA has proposed one centralised negotiation for wage disputes at Eskom’s Medupi, Kusile and Ingula projects

Workers returned to the Eskom’s Kusile mega power station plant on Monday as unions prepare for a week of talks aimed at resolving an ongoing labour dispute.

Workers downed tools on Thursday citing a breakdown in talks over food, accommodation and other working conditions, sparking fears of a prolongued labour dispute mirroring that at Kusile’s twin station, Medupi.

Workers are also unhappy at being accommodated near a sewerage plant.

National Union of Metal Workers South Africa’s (Numsa) national basic metals and energy sector coordinator, Stephen Nhlapo, said a committee of stakeholders would hold talks throughout the week in an effort to speed up negotiations. He said all workers were on site on Monday having returned on the understanding that negotiations were under way.

Meanwhile, Numsa wants a central document to guide the employment conditions of all construction industry workers, as the government embarks on its multibillion-rand infrastructure development build.

Nhlapo said the proposal, which would centralise working conditions on both public and private sector projects, would be put to Numsa’s membership at its shopstewards bargaining council meeting this week.

Nhlapo said the union hoped to pre-empt the outbreak of pocketed labour unrest on construction projects, thereby speeding up construction. Medupi, for example, is 18 months behind schedule.

The union also hopes to talk stakeholders into centralising talks at Medupi, Kusile and Ingula, Eskom’s pumped storage programme in KwaZulu-Natal. Nhlapo said workers’ complaints were the same at all three projects and that there was no need to hold three separate sets of negotiations to resolve the complaints.

On Wednesday, it is hoped that subcontractors, who are not involved in all three projects, will agree to centralised talks, he said.

Meanwhile, “95%” of workers have returned to the Medupi site in Limpopo following 10 weeks of labour disputes, according to Numsa. Nhlapo said only minor issues relating to workers’ conditions remained to be ironed out on site. These included what was to happen to workers who were suspended during the strike action, he said.

Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba visited the Medupi site on Thursday for an inspection. He remained adamant that the plant would be operational by December.


Break up Eskom, for all our sakes

Mail and Guardian 30 November 2012.

(Editor’s note: This is a MUST read!)

The underlying foundation of the country’s economy is that electricity has been cheap, readily available and abundant, writes Dirk de Vos.

Our economy and its industrial base is power intensive and South Africa has one of the highest power consumption-to-unit of gross domestic product ratios anywhere.

Cheap and abundant energy has, for a long time, represented our comparative advantages and shaped our economy. It has allowed South Africa to avoid addressing things such as low labour productivity. Other disadvantages, such as deep and low-grade mineral-bearing mines and the distance from our main export markets, have been offset by the price and ready availability of energy…

More …

Anglo, Eskom seal Kusile deal

Business Day Live 11 November 2012.

ANGLO American Thermal Coal and Eskom this week pledged to get the first unit of the six-unit Kusile power station on stream by 2014 and the rest of the units running by the scheduled 2018 date.

Eskom’s main contract is with Anglo Coal.

Anglo Coal’s planned New Largo colliery, 5km from the power station, is committed to supply coal for 40 years of the plant’s 60-year life. Eskom said the balance will come from Anglo Coal’s Zibulo reserve near Ogies…

More …