DTA holds apolitical meeting with unions on challenges

08 Mar 2016 13:50pm
WINDHOEK, 08 MAR (NAMPA) – The DTA of Namibia is engaging with labour unions to discuss the volatile state of the mining sector, inflation and the depreciation of the South African Rand.
DTA president, McHenry Venaani, during a media conference here on Tuesday, said the meeting is convened to deliberate with union representatives on ways to bring the business sector, labour unions and legislators together.
The meeting in Windhoek that started Tuesday and ends Thursday will have the Namibian National Labour Organisation (NANLO), National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW), Namibian National Farmers Union, Teachers Union Of Namibia (TUN) and Namibia National Teachers Union (NANTU) engage on matters of cooperation on a national front.
Venaani said a labour crisis is manifesting itself in the country, referring to the 369 Rosh Pinah Zinc Corporation workers who have been on strike since 24 February.
The strike results from failed negotiations between the mining company and the Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN).
The union requested a 12,5 per cent increase in wages, full medical aid cover and a fixed underground allowance of N.dollars 2 300 for its members.
The company however offered a five per cent increment under difficult economic conditions, which the workers rejected.
Venaani noted there is an influx of foreigners in Namibia taking up jobs as manual labourers in key industries such as mining and construction. Therefore, he stressed, skills mapping is needed to determine the skills levels available in the country.
He added that the depreciation of the South African Rand would result in food price inflation, which could translate into a higher degree of poverty.
The official opposition leader noted that the meeting is apolitical, as the party's intentions are only to engage with the unions, regardless of their political affiliation, to understand the various labour sectors.