Rosh Pinah Zinc aggravates striking workers

07 Mar 2016 14:50pm
KEETMANSHOOP, 07 MAR (NAMPA) – There appears to be no end in sight for a strike at the Rosh Pinah Zinc Corporation, as work stoppage at the mine by 369 workers entered its 13th day on Monday.
The striking workers’ tempers are also flaring as the mine now employs non-striking workers, according to Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) Regional Organiser Elvis Bekele.
Slightly less than 100 personnel are continuing work at the mine.
Bekele said the striking workers are threatening violence over the “provocation” from the Rosh Pinah Zinc Corporation.
“The workers are very, very angry. We are trying to keep them calm but it is only a matter of time before this situation gets out of hand,” he told Nampa in a telephonic interview on Monday.
The union has dropped demands for full medical aid coverage and an equal production bonus.
It also dropped the initial demand for a 12,5 per cent salary increase to 10 per cent.
The company offered 5,5 per cent “under challenging economic conditions”.
Nampa has been unable to get comment from the corporation over the last two weeks as spokesman Kondja Kaulinge stopped responding to emails.
He also did not respond to questions regarding the economic impact of the strike on the mine.
Bekele said the mine filed an urgent application last week to compel the workers to return, which he said was dismissed by the High Court.
“They were told that they cannot interfere with the workers’ right to strike, but now they are frustrating the workers with their action of continuing production with the other non-striking workers.”
In a meeting with mine management last Thursday, Bekele said the union was only willing to return to negotiations if a better salary increment proposal was put on the table.
“Everything remains as it is and our daily picketing continues,” he said.