28 Feb 2019 10:40am
WINDHOEK, 28 FEB (NAMPA) The National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) on Wednesday called on Erongo Governor, Cleophas Mutjavikua to relinquish his position after allegedly conspiring with the owners of Husab Mine to use the provisions of the Labour Act to lay off employees.
If Mutjavikua fails to heed the call for him to step down, NUNW will turn to President Hage Geingob to relieve him of his duties, NUNW secretary general Job Muniaro said at a media briefing in the capital on Wednesday.
The union further threatened to take the law into its own hands to have the plight of workers heard.
I will not die because the law does not protect me. I will protect myself. I will not die because of the lies of Mutjavikua, Muniaro said.
He said the governor can no longer be entrusted with the office and position of influence he occupies after an audio clip was circulated widely in which the governor is heard telling owners of the mine to activate a clause in the Labour Act to reorganise the company by lying to the labour commissioner and the Mines and Energy Ministry, Muniaro further explained, in reference to Mutjavikua's purported audio.
In the clip, an individual purported by the NUNW to be Mutjavikua, is further heard saying pressure would mount on Geingob if employees are laid off in view of 2019 being an election year.
The speaker also advised that the reorganising clause, if invoked by the companys owners, will not be challenged, therefore putting them in pole position to win the labour dispute.
You tell the labour commissioner that I have a problem at the company (and) I want to fix some systems and I want to reorganise the company. But within that clause, you will have the power to force the union that if you dont do A,[then] I will do B, the voice on the audio clip added.
On Tuesday, operations at the mine came to a halt after workers vented their concerns over their safety in light of claims that unchecked explosives and detonators were discovered on the site.
Workers further demanded the removal of the mines drilling and blasting contractor, Beifang Mining Services.
Muniaro denied using the predicament the mine workers find themselves in to settle political scores with Mutjavikua, or win favours from Geingob.
Efforts to get comment from Mutjavikua proved futile as his phone was off.
The governor, however, told reporters at the coast that the audio clip was manipulated and distanced himself from the utterances he is purported to have made.