CORRECTION: Rosh Pinah zinc mine allegedly threatens workers

20 Jun 2016 15:40pm
CORRECTION: Adds ‘from April this year’ to second last sentence

KEETMANSHOOP, 20 JUN (NAMPA) – The Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) has slammed the Rosh Pinah Zinc Corporation for alleged plans to institute disciplinary action against workers involved in a recent strike.
The majority of the workers at the zinc mine downed tools for nearly two months since February, demanding an increase in pay and benefits. An agreement in favour of the workers was reached in the High Court during April.
MUN regional organiser Elvis Bekele on Friday wrote a letter to the mine, expressing dismay at claims of the planned mass disciplinary hearings.
“The union learnt that supervisors at the mine were instructed to charge and summon employees who embarked on the protected strike to disciplinary hearings,” he said in the letter, also forwarded to Nampa.
Bekele wrote that one supervisor was allegedly victimised by the mine and falsely accused of giving information to the union during the legal strike.
“We are informed that you have taken it upon yourself to threaten employees into signing notices of disciplinary hearings without consulting the MUN. If you choose to continue with this disrespectful approach, be assured that unwanted consequences and action will follow,” the union informed the mine.
MUN also sent a notice to the Labour Commission (LC), alerting it of the alleged planned action by the mine.
“We view the mine’s action as revenge against the workers after its defeat in the wage negotiations. Employees are in fear and uncertain of their future in the company,” Bekele said in the letter to the LC, calling on the body to intervene in the matter.
The 364 striking workers were awarded a monthly salary increase of N.dollars 1 600 from April this year and a seven per cent pay hike from January 2017.
Mine Manager Christo Aspeling on Monday refused to comment, instead referring questions to a Glencore spokesperson in Switzerland where the majority stakeholder of the zinc mine is based.