MUN irked by audio recording involving Erongo governor

27 Feb 2019 18:50pm
SWAKOPMUND, 27 FEB (NAMPA) – The Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) has expressed “great disappointment” in a leaked audio clip recording involving Erongo Governor, Cleophas Mutjavikua, during a meeting with Swakop Uranium mine management.
During the meeting held on 18 and 19 February, the two parties discussed the ongoing wage negotiations between the union and the company and Mutjavikua, who was acting as mediator, is heard advising the company to invoke the “reorganisation” clause in exchange for them consenting to the union demands.
In a statement made by MUN western regional chairperson Abiud Kapere during a media conference here on Wednesday, the union accused the governor of advising the Swakop Uranium management to retrench some mineworkers in order to avoid spending too much money on wages.
“It is with shock that we have learned that those that have been elected/appointed to advance the interests of Namibian citizens are in fact siding with the enemy under the pretence of advancing foreign investments,” Kapere said.
The union demanded that the governor publicly come clean on this issue as well as to apologise for his statements, or the workers will be forced to take appropriate action.
On his part, Mutjavikua during a separate media conference also on Wednesday, emphasised that the circulating audio was edited and does not depict the actual essence of the meeting, denying allegations that he suggested that workers be retrenched in either audio clips.
“Indeed, I referred to the reorganisation clause in the Labour Act on a question relating to systems and processes which the company wanted to be addressed. The issue of processes and systems became a sticking point in negotiations as the mine insisted on linking half of the annual salary increases to the performance of the company,” Mutjavikua clarified.
The reorganisation clause makes provision for the regulation of the conditions of employment of employees to prevent and remedy any unfair dismissals and to regulate the termination of contracts of employment.
The governor went on to say he advised Swakop Uranium that the only legal way to address the issue of systems was by following the Labour Act.
“It is important to state that those who unethically released the edited audio must release the whole unedited audio on the caucus during the negotiations as they will provide proper perspectives of the whole negotiations process without distorting facts.”
Mutjavikua said it was never his intention to make it sound like he was insinuating retrenchment in his statement during the meeting and also apologised as requested of him.
“If I offended the workers and their representatives, I do not have a problem issuing an apology,” he ended his briefing.