Contingency plans in place as Nersa workers strike

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Pretoria-The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) has put contingency plans in place to ensure that operations at the regulator will not be disrupted during the strike by staff members.

Workers affiliated to the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) downed tools on Wednesday following failed wage negotiations.

"In terms of operations we have contingency plans in place," said the regulator's head of communication and stakeholder management Charles Hlebela.

He added said that 80 out of the 123 staff at the regulator were on Wednesday dancing and singing in protest outside the Nersa offices in Pretoria.

Nersa's mandate is to regulate the electricity, piped gas and petroleum pipeline industry.

"Following the CCMA [Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration] process we received a notice on 14 August from the union notifying us that they're going to embark on a strike," Mr Hlebela, told BuaNews.

The protest action comes after Nersa implemented a 7.5 percent salary increase in April, in additional to the 3.8 percent increment last August totaling 11.3 percent. The union wants a further 3.7 percent increment increasing the offer to 15 percent, he explained.

"Nersa remains committed to resolving the matter and management is prepared to meet the union," Mr Hlebela said.

Nehawu chief negotiator Tshepiso Mogorosi said that workers would continue to strike until their demands were met.

"We are demanding a 15 percent increment that is market related. We will continue protesting until we reach a settlement," said Mr Mogorosi.