Swakop Uranium agrees to some of Husab workers' demands

22 Mar 2019 15:30pm
SWAKOPMUND, 22 MAR (NAMPA) – The management of Swakop Uranium (SU) has agreed to take stricter measures to ensure the safety of its employees at Husab Mine.
The employees in a petition recently expressed concern about alleged negligence by the contracted Beifang Mining blasting company and safety measures, leading them to halt work in the mine’s Zones 1 and 2.
A media release issued by the Mineworkers Union of Namibia’s (MUN) Western Regional Coordinator, George Ampweya on Friday indicated that some of the agreements between the union and SU include the appointment of an independent expert to head an investigation task team into the “danger zones”.
“Upon conclusion of the investigation, the task team submitted preliminary reports that declared the areas safe and employees were instructed by the company to commence work in those areas,” Ampweya noted.
The union and company management also set out affirmative strategies to reform the status quo, amongst others, as far as safety is concerned.
These entail no loading of blocks blasted after 15h00 on the same day in order to allow for oversight inspections the following day, as well as the reforming of the existing post blasting form to be signed by the shift superintendent.
“It should also be noted that the MUN will not, at the expense of production, compromise the safety of its members and in as much as we will support management in ascertaining a safe working environment, we reserve the right to invoke whatever provisions of existing legislation if we feel our members’ safety is compromised,” the union said.
Amongst the demands from the employees was also the total removal of Beifang Mining’s technological services contract, which the mine’s management disputed as it was of the opinion that there are no compromised contractual obligations between the two. SU thus said it will not terminate the service contract at this point.
“Although SU acknowledged Beifang’s shortcomings with respect to safety, the union still demands that the company be removed indefinitely and that a competent and qualified management be awarded the tender,” the statement said.
Irrespective of the union’s stance, Ampweya maintained that the employees should not be affected and that should SU terminate Beifang’s services, the new company should retain Beifang’s local employees.
MUN said it would continue engaging the relevant stakeholders to ensure a safe and conducive working environment.