30 Mar 2016 11:30am
CORRECTION: REPLACING 'NUNW' WITH 'MUN' IN SLUG LINE AND NINTH PARA
KEETMANSHOOP, 30 MAR (NAMPA) The Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) called on the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration to revoke the permanent residency status of Rosh Pinah Zinc Mine General Manager Christo Aspeling.
In the request sent to the ministry and copied to the media on Tuesday, the union accused the manager of racial discrimination and threatening striking workers with retrenchment or the permanent closure of the mine.
He should be sent back to where he came from, the union wrote without specifying the country Aspeling is from.
MUN said it already opposed the granting of permanent residency to Aspeling in a letter to the ministry in 2013, after the manager received his work permit in 2009.
Around 369 workers are on strike with about 100 continuing work at the Rosh Pinah zinc mine.
The strike has now persisted for over a month after workers demands for a 12,5 per cent salary hike and additional benefits were shot down by the mining company.
The company offered a 5,5 per cent increase pleading rough economic conditions for the sale of zinc.
Nampa learnt the union also convened a community meeting on Sunday informing town residents of a possible closure of the mine.
At that meeting, MUN branch chairperson Allen Kalumbu told Rosh Pinah residents that the future of the mining town was at stake as Aspeling apparently suggested that a further two-month long strike could signal the end of the mine.
This is not possible as the zinc and lead price are doing very well at this point and we have enough ore underground to continue production well into the future, Kalumbu told the public.
Striking workers were also not paid for the month of March, which is in contravention with rules of a legal strike, he said.
The union asked for support from the community to withhold children from school as there is no money in homes and to march with the striking workers in solidarity to rescue the future of the town.
Rosh Pinah mine management abruptly stopped communication with the media shortly after the strike commenced on 22 February.