Unhappy LHU employees not giving up fight

27 Jun 2013 12:20
SWAKOPMUND, 27 JUN (NAMPA) - Disgruntled Langer Heinrich Uranium employees on Thursday staged their third peaceful demonstration this year, outlining their frustration with the company?s Managing Director (MD) Werner Duvenhage.
About 200 workers took part in the protest at the mining site here.
LHU Chairman of the Namibia Mineworkers Union (MUN) here, John Narib indicated in a petition handed over to the company?s management that the interest of the marginalised workers of the mine should receive urgent attention.
He stated the employees are overlooked and ignored intentionally by Duvenhage.
?Different attempts to report this issue to different stakeholders have been exhausted, however, notwithstanding our endeavours to that extend, nothing has been addressed to this date,? Narib said.
He continued to outline previous demands which were supposed to be addressed by the company, such as miscarriages due to the fact that pregnant women are allowed to be on site, regardless of the uranium levels on the mine.
?The mine is operating under minimum safety measures and no statistical data are available for review and analysis. Safety personnel are accused of being unqualified. Our attempts to engage the management on this issue have proven to be futile, while another miscarriage occurred again recently,? a concerned Narib indicated.
He also mentioned that the company?s MD does not want to engage in talks with MUN as he is always absent from meetings.
Narib added that although Duvenhage sends a representative from LHU to engage with the union, the representative always has an excuse of not having the mandate to make a decision.
However, he said the rest of the management members show interest to work with MUN, but the MD is hindering further progress in all issues.
Narib further indicated that LHU also refused to give employees a single cent as an annual increment for 2013.
?He only recommended bonuses to some management members and eliminated the inclusive bonus. Nepotism and corrupt practises are still on a high scale,? he said.
The employees, therefore, strongly demand Duvenhage?s removal from his position as MD, and that he be replaced by someone who is willing to listen and guard workers? welfare.
The workers have specified they want an answer from the LHU Board of Directors by 04 July 2013, otherwise unspecified action will follow.
The petition was received by the Human Resource Manager at LHU, Hein Deiber, who indicated that the petition will receive the attention of the LHU Board.
In a statement issued on Thursday, Duvenhage refuted all allegations made by the MUN as devoid of any factual substance.
He stated that the MUN Branch Executive Committee (BEC) has embarked upon a public campaign to try and discredit the policies and practices which LHU applies with regards to the treatment of pregnant employees.
?LHU has recently engaged the services of a well-respected Namibian lawyer who confirmed that LHU?s policies on treatment of pregnant employees comply with all Namibian legislation. LHU also recently requested international radiation specialists to review the company?s policies and procedures.
They have found the policies and procedures to comply with international best practice and are therefore in line with the policies and practices at other uranium mines internationally,? Duvenhage stated.
He added that the mine processes a low to medium grade uranium ore, which is low in radioactive levels, thus it is improbable for pregnant employees who were assigned duties outside controlled areas, to receive radiation exposure of any concern.
Duvenhage further explained that the BEC lodged a complaint with the Office of the Prime Minister, and an investigation team was send to LHU.
?We have cooperated fully with that department and have provided all information that has been requested to date. It is our understanding that the reports have been completed and await feedback in this regard,? he said.
However, the MD indicated that MUN continues to dispute the factual and scientific outcome of all investigations through public letters and demonstrations where non-factual and irresponsible notices and information is distributed.