16 Feb 2015 15:40pm
KEETMANSHOOP, 16 FEB (NAMPA) The workers of B&E International Namibia in Oranjemund and Lüderitz on Monday morning embarked on a strike at 04h00 in pursuit of better conditions of employment.
Southern regional chairperson of the Mineworkers' Union of Namibia (MUN), John Ndeutepo said the nearly 300 workers are demanding wage increases, medical aid and an agreed upon bonus scheme. The workers at Lüderitz seek a transport allowance as well.
B&E is contracted by diamond company Namdeb to provide services in mining, seawall management, fuel management and treatment.
According to Ndeutepo, the company has thus far offered an increase of 15 per cent across the board for this year, to be in effect for the next two years, and N.dollars 300 per month for medical aid.
The mineworkers have, however, rejected this offer on the premise that they have not received a wage increase for two years.
Ndeutepo told Nampa that the B&E workers are picketing in a strike which is already a week late, adding that demands were forwarded to the company a week ago.
Approached for comment, an unnamed spokesperson at the company said no comment will be forthcoming at this stage but will be done in writing when they see it fit.
In January this year, B&E director Frans Ndoroma confirmed to some media houses that wage negotiations were underway.
The unionist said that there is an agreement in place between Namdeb and B&E that its workers would be paid wages similar to those paid at Namdeb so that the international company would not concentrate on cheap labour, and rather be a partner in the sustainability of the diamond operations in Namibia. Workers are demanding a wage increase of 20 per cent for the lowest band; 17 per cent for the middle band; and 12 per cent for the highest band.
Ndeutepo charged: As for the medical aid offer, where in Namibia will you find any medical aid scheme for that amount?
B&E is dishonouring this agreement. They assured Namdeb that it would not concentrate on cheap labour, but that it would be a partner in the sustainability of the diamond operations in the country, he said.