By John Ekongo WINDHOEK There appears to be no end in sight for the almost 200 striking workers of the Lev Leviev Diamond and Polishing Company as the strike enters its fourth day. The workers have vowed to maintain their strike action until their grievances are addressed. The most crucial demand from the workers is the termination of the services of the General Manager of LLD Namibia, Mike Nesongano. According to the striking workers, he is the cause of the hostile working relations. However, the company has played an ace by securing a court order to have the striking workers removed from its premises. The workers were ordered to stay 400 metres away from the factory and not to interfere with the remaining workers inside the factory. Labour unions have been in protracted negotiations with LLD management, and are yet to find a solution to the strike that has been dragging on since last Thursday. Efforts to reach the Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) proved futile. New Era was informed that MUN and the management of the company were locked in negotiations. Moses Mutenge, one of the leaders of the striking employees confirmed to New Era that they have not heard anything from the unions yet, and management has refused to speak to them. Meanwhile, the operations of the Lev Leviev Diamond Empire have been put under a disapproving microscope for alleged labour discontent in three continents. Questions are being raised about the labour practices of this diamond entity with operations in Africa, the United States and the Middle East. Leviev, owner of LLD Namibia and one of Israel's wealthiest businessmen, has come under considerable pressure from lobbying groups over his activities in the occupied settlement of Gaza on the West Bank, including the United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF) in New York, where it has cut ties with the Israeli businessman. It is also rumoured that he uses profits gained from his extensive diamond tradings across the world to finance construction of illegal settlement areas in and around the areas of West Bank, according to a Middle East-based lobby group - The Ad-Hoc Coalition for Justice in the Middle East Adalah-NY. Adalah-NY is a strategic alliance of concerned organisations and individuals in New York, formed to demand an immediate, unconditional, and permanent end to US and US-sponsored Israeli aggression in the Middle East. In Namibia, LLD Diamonds and Polishing Factory has resorted to suspend almost its entire Namibian workforce, for absconding from their workstations without official leave, according to the company's management. The workers indicated that they resorted to a strike because of hostile working relations between them and management. Also in the same pot are accusations of unfair labour treatment, poor working conditions and disregard for human rights. All the accusations have been dismissed by management as "unfounded and unproven allegations".
2008-06-24 00:00:00 10 years ago