Racism at Rosh Pinah Zinc Mine – MUN

11 Feb 2016 11:30am
KEETMANSHOOP, 11 FEB (NAMPA) – The Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) is accusing the Rosh Pinah Zinc Mine management of racism and unfair labour practices.
The union said the company favours whites and discriminates against blacks, in a petition handed over to Mine Manager, Christo Aspeling on Wednesday.
The petition singled out engineering manager Andre Bergh for allegedly only appointing whites in senior positions in the engineering department.
Included in the petition was a list of names, identified as white people, allegedly promoted and appointed by Bergh.
MUN Regional Organiser, Elvis Bekele said the union previously raised the issue with Bergh who reportedly said he was unaware that promoting only whites was against the Affirmative Action Act.
“This is tantamount to perjury and the trust factor has been damaged beyond repair,” the union stated.
Without elaborating, the MUN said it also found huge salary discrepancies between white and black personnel in the engineering department.
The union further wrote that shop stewards are victimised by Bergh and threatened to resign from the MUN as members.
The workers’ body said the company has been without a human resource manager since 2013 causing a general breakdown of trust between management and staff at the mine.
It said that in the absence of a manager, company heads of department were given powers to appoint “whoever they want” – and called on the company to recruit an HR officer within the next 30 days.
MUN said it was clear that black people are discriminated against, as there is only one black manager present on the nine-member management team of the zinc mine.
The said black manager, Kondja Kaulinge is also the spokesman of the company, but could not be reached by Nampa to comment on the petition as he was reportedly locked in meetings.
Mine manager Aspeling was also unavailable.
The union also listed the shortage of accommodation as a serious concern.
It said that company housing was largely reserved for white employees while blacks were discriminated against.
Underground mine safety was an additional concern for workers.
The MUN gave the company five days to respond to the petition.
Bekele told Nampa on Thursday that Aspeling promised to get back to the union on the allegations.
He said failure to respond may lead to industrial action by around 250 workers of the bargaining unit.