COSATU in the Eastern Cape joins National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in mourning the death of two Eastern Cape Operating Unit (ECOU) employees due to COVID-19. The two workers add to the increasing numbers in the province.
The arrival of Coronavirus has exposed poor Health & Safety conditions that the workers are subjected to. A Demand by NUM that Eskom must provide workers with adequate and appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) fell on deaf ears. The two workers were among those who were forced to work without PPE. The failure to provide PPE was to the peril of these workers. The death of these two NUM members bears testimony to the fact that employers prioritize profits more than the health of workers. These workers were compromised by the company’s failure to provide PPE.
This situation cannot continue unabated. The employers’ attitude of looking at the cost factor of PPE than treating it as a necessary legal obligation to ensure the safety of workers is very disturbing, to say the least. Rubbing salt into the wound is that even though they are non-essential workers and should have worked from home Eskom forced them to come to work during Level 5.
We demand that relevant Government departments must take Eskom to task in relation to the death of the two workers that perished. We demand that the New Health and Safety Regulations and COVID 19 Ministerial Directives must be strictly adhered to by all employers. The safety of workers must be a priority.
No employer must maximize profits at the expense of workers’ lives.
Issued by COSATU