Skeleton crew for Tantalite mine not viable: MUN

19 Aug 2018 16:00pm
WARMBAD, 19 AUG (NAMPA) – The Mineworkers Union (MUN) is adamant that it will not be viable to have a skeleton crew operate the Namibia Tantalite Mine once the company retrenches 94 of its employees.
The mine plans to retrench the employees at the end of this month.
While visiting the mine at Warmbad on Saturday, MUN southern regional chairperson, Allen Kalumbu said a skeleton crew will not be effective as the mine uses labour intensive methods that need manpower.
“We cannot allow the company to use a skeleton crew as that will mean total exploitation of our workers. One needs at least four to five people to operate that jackhammer. How will one person do that job?” he asked.
MUN representatives visited the mine to see for themselves whether the company is right in saying the work on site can be done by a skeleton crew.
“We came here to see the machinery on site, the equipment in place and to determine how many employees are needed to operate it. We need to establish whether a skeleton crew would be able to operate the mine,” Kalumbu said.
The mine has announced that it will retrench 94 employees because of a water shortage and lack of production. An agreement on severance packages has however not been reached yet and the matter is now with the Labour Commission.
Namibia Tantalite Mine Chief Executive Officer, Larry Johnson on Sunday confirmed that they will make use of a skeleton staff component after the end-of-month retrenchments.
“We will recruit a skeleton crew but I cannot tell you right now how many people will be involved. The mine will use the same process in terms of production,” he said.
Kalumbu further called for the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation and Ministry of Mines and Energy to intervene in the matter.
“The mine said come end August, they will retrench the workers whether the dispute is resolved or not… Mines Minister, Tom Alweendo two weeks ago said one job loss is a loss for everyone, now we have so many jobs at stake and the government is running away and leaving it in the hands of the union. Government must rescue us,” he said.