Johannesburg - Workers on strike at the Medupi power station in Lephalale are not deliberately trying to disrupt the completion of the plant, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA said on Tuesday.

“The purported claims that workers as led by Numsa are being used to sabotage the long-overdue completion of Medupi power station are totally untrue, and we view them as an odorous attack on the leadership collective,” said Numsa spokesman Castro Ngobese.

Ngobese said a “significant” number of workers had their bonuses and salaries docked during the December holidays period.

The workers were uncertain whether this had been done deliberately.

This matter was raised internally by workers with Medupi authorities, in order for Medupi to address the complaints and resolve them amicably.

“Instead of the matter being addressed, workers have endured all manner of victimisation, including a lock-out, which has led to this ongoing strike and violent unrest at the power station over the past four days,” said Ngobese.

Construction of the R91 billion coal-fired power plant in Lephalale was suspended on Wednesday when workers embarked on an illegal strike.

The strike could threaten Eskom's plan for the first six units of the 4764 megawatt power plant to deliver power by the end of the year.

The union leadership has since held talks with Eskom in order to find a solution.

Eskom spokeswoman Hilary Joffe said the power utility was hoping for workers to be back to work on Thursday.

“We are working with the contractors and unions... We can only start bringing people back when we are confident that the site is safe,” she said.

There are up to 17 000 workers at the construction site at any given time. - Sapa