Strike cost Namdeb N$10m per day
After the failed attempt by the deputy Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Alpheus Muheua to avert the industrial action over a dispute wage by Namdeb workers, the strike commenced again this Saturday costing the company N$ 10m per day.
At the core of the dispute, is the MUN demanding increments on basic wages of 15% while the company is offering 7.5%- 8.5%. In addition, the MUN makes demands for increased contribution by the company on medical aid for employees, as well as subsidy for schooling.
During the mediation efforts, the company revised its offer to 10% on basic wages for all employees as well as an additional 10% contribution by the company to employees’ medical aid.
Addressing a media briefing today, Namdeb CEO’s Inge Zaamwani Kamwi said that Namdeb is an aging asset and the strategic imperative of the company continues to be the sustainability of the operation, to ensure continuity beyond 2050.
Therefore, any unplanned increase might be detrimental to the long term sustainability of the company. Furthermore, the strike is harmful to all concerned, employees, the employer and the state treasury and community. During the strike, the Government lose approximately N$6m per day by way of taxes and royalties.
“Namdeb is ageing mine. The strategic focus of my management team has, for the last five years been to break new frontiers in effort to find innovative ways to prolong the life of the operations, and ensure a sustainable future for the benefit of Namibia and its people. In fact as far as we know, Namdeb may well be the oldest operating alluvial diamond mine in the world, giving testimony to the incredible efforts over the years keep this ageing mine operating. Events like the current strike, obviously deals a severe blow to these gallant efforts.”
She argued that compared to its peers in the mining industry, Namdeb employees currently earn above the 75%. “The lowest paid employee earns a basic s alary of N$5 790. In addition to this company pays other allowances totalling the cash salary of N$6.900.”
She added that while other industry players have opted to reduce their workforce as a means of sustainability. At Namdeb, the option of reducing employee numbers has always been a last resort.
She further noted that Namdeb remains committed to finding an amicable solution to the current dispute and will continue to communicate with its employees, in an effort to bring this strike to an end as soon as possible.