Lephalale - Twenty-five workers were injured during a protest at the Medupi power station in Lephalale, Limpopo, on Wednesday, Eskom said.

Violence broke out when strikers tried to stop buses taking their colleagues to the construction site, the parastatal said in a statement.

Meanwhile contractors were trying to bring work at the site back to normal. It was temporarily closed on Wednesday morning because of the strike.

“The protest action, by a group of workers employed by contractors at Medupi, resulted in workers being sent home, to ensure the safety of people and assets on the site.

“Eskom cannot condone violence. We wish those workers who have been injured a speedy and complete recovery.”

The utility said the circumstances around the industrial action were being investigated.

“Today's protest mainly involved workers affiliated to the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) who are employed by Hitachi Kaefer and Murray & Roberts Projects.”

Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim claimed management provoked the protest.

“We think that companies at Medupi they are extremely mischievous and we think that there is a deliberate agenda to consistently create frustrations and to provoke workers for the sole intention of delaying the project so that they extend their benefits in that project.”

He said last week workers queried the bonuses they were paid.

“Management was not prepared to co-operate and they refused to speak to their full time shop stewards.”

On Friday about 1100 workers employed by Alstom Kentz at Medupi went on strike, resulting in the company locking them out.

“Today was a culmination of all that frustration. There's no doubt we must talk to our members. We cannot allow fights between our members,” Jim said.

Eskom said Medupi's first unit was expected to start generating power to South Africa's national grid by the end of the year. - Sapa