NUMSA members picket outside the gates at Abengoa Solar Plant. PHOTO: NUMSA Media

JOHANNESBURG - The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa on Friday rejected accusations by management at Northern Cape-based company Abengoa Solar that striking workers were intimidating those not participating in the boycott.

NUMSA said the company had applied for a court order declaring the conduct of its members during picketing as unlawful. The application will be heard at the Braamfontein labour court on Friday.

"They allege that our members who have been on strike at Abengoa Solar plant are intimidating non-striking workers and that they are violent," NUMSA regional secretary in the Northern Cape Andile Zitho said in a statement. "We reject this frivolous application with the contempt it deserves."

Zitho accused the company of trying to use the courts to "threaten, discourage and intimidate peacefully striking workers from exercising their constitutional right to strike".

Spanish owned Abengoa Solar operates one of several renewable energy plants in the Northern Cape. 

NUMSA is demanding a housing allowance and a 13th cheque for workers, and says the company has in the past refused to pay benefits.

"Our members had to go on strike just to secure medical aid and provident fund last year," it said on Friday. "Our members had to go on strike in order to secure medical aid and provident fund."

The labour union also condemned picketing rules enforced by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration which limit the allowed number of picketers to 40 people per day and compels them to keep a distance from the gate of the picketing venue.

- African News Agency (ANA)