• July 23rd, 2019
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Namport could reconsider mass dismissals



WINDHOEK - Following a public outcry over its recent dismissal of 86 employees, the Namibian Ports Authority (Namport) is willing to reverse this decision, Erongo governor Cleophas Mutjavikua said in his state of the region address.

The workers were employed in the container terminal at Walvis Bay harbour.
The dismissals followed an alleged illegal industrial action by the employees in August last year.
The employees wanted to be represented by the Mine Workers Union of Namibia (MUN) despite the fact that Namibian Transport and Allied Workers Union (Natau) had a bargaining agreement with Namport.
The workers, according to Namport, also did not follow the grievance procedures contained in the collective bargaining agreement signed between Namport and Natau and were advised against the strike, but ignored such counselling.

Briefing the nation in his annual regional address last week, Mutjavikua said: “Namport dismissed 86 workers and gave final written warnings to six others who took part in an illegal strike in August 2018. However, the company is willing to reconsider its position if the dismissed workers show remorse.” 
Still on mass dismissals, Mutjavikua said Langer Heinrich Uranium went into care and maintenance after the mine retrenched 300 permanent workers and 300 contract workers.

Equally, he expressed concern that Elgin Brown & Hamer (EBH) Namibia retrenched 50 workers after a significant decline in docking activity from the ship repair sector over the past years.

On the long-dragging issue wherein more than 2 000 fishermen lost their jobs in 2016 after they went on an illegal strike, Mutjavikua revealed this situation is still a concern to the region. 

“These employees still picket peacefully at the soccer stadium in Walvis Bay. Our office with the mayor of Walvis Bay took this matter up with the minister of fisheries and marine resources. We requested that a non-commercial quota be allocated to Fishcor to address this impasse,” the governor said.  

According to him, Swakop Uranium’s management and the MUN’s branch at the mine successfully concluded their negotiations whereby they agreed on a seven percent wage increase. They also agreed on a housing allowance that was increased from N$2 500 to N$3 000. 

For medical aid contribution, both parties agreed that the company covers 70 percent while employees take care of the remaining 30 percent. 

He added that employees working for five years will receive long service awards and a windfall of N$4 000, while employees working for ten years will receive a windfall of N$8 000.

In addition, vanadium exploration and metallurgical studies also commenced at Langer Heinrich mine to ensure another by-product when the mine resumes production.
At this stage, he revealed, close to 80 employees are working at the mine  –encompassing permanent care and maintenance crew as well as contractors.

Another issue he mentioned is the Namib Lead & Zinc Mine, which is a mineral exploration and development company active in Namibia and Mozambique.
He said the company is focussed on re-opening its flagship asset, the Namibia Lead and Zinc Mine, a fully permitted project near the Rössing Mountain. 

The ground-breaking ceremony was held on June 12, 2018 and will employ 300 workers during the construction period and 150 employees at full production, he said. 
 As for QKR Navachab Gold Mine, Mutjavikua said, it is the expectation of the region and the country at large that Navachab mine is supposed to do well. 

“The gold price is well if one can take into consideration the production cost of the mine. However, to our surprise for the last four years the shareholders are reluctant to invest in high grade Western Pushback,” he noted. 

Thus, he says, the situation resulted in a material uncertainty, to a point where the mine might end up under care and maintenance in the not-so-distant future. 

“Let me make it clear that this is not a commodity price issue but a pure man-made action. We trust that the Ministry of Mines and Energy is monitoring this development closely,” he added. 
Moreover, he confirmed that the reported sale of Rössing to China National Uranium Corporation (CNUC) is still ongoing.


Albertina Nakale
2019-06-11 09:25:31 1 months ago

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