KEETMANSHOOP - The Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) has registered a labour dispute with the Office of the Labour Commissioner over an unresolved overtime dispute between Skorpion Zinc and its employees.
Skorpion Zinc Branch MUN chairperson Petersen Kambinda confirmed to New Era in a telephonic interview that the union registered a labour dispute with the Labour Commissioner last Friday, on behalf of their members at the Rosh Pinah mine.
And in a separate press release, Kambinda explained that after negotiations with the zinc miner on overtime had yielded no results, MUN decided to involve the Labour Commissioner in an effort to resolve the issue, as workers demand to be paid for any extra hours worked, which the mine allegedly does not want to agree to, a situation the union opposes on grounds workers cannot work for free.
“Workers are committed to work with investors who have the interests of the Namibian nation at heart, not investors who parade and sponsor national events whilst exploiting employees, expecting them to work 42 hours for free each month,” he said, adding: “We can easily conclude that the money sponsored for such events is money owed to employees.”
He said that since operations started in 2010, the mine has never paid overtime to employees, who always work extra hours for free, and that the mine was forced to pay N$13 million in three yearly installments as overtime to workers from 2013 to 2015 in an agreement reached in 2015.
He said as part of that deal it was agreed that the company will be exempted from overtime payment for the next three years, after which new negotiations will follow, but a conclusion has so far not been reached which prompted the union to approach the Labour Commissioner for a solution.
As part of their demands during the failed negotiations MUN wanted the mine to give shares to the workers, a housing subsidy of N$6,500, an increased housing allowance from N$3,850 to N$4,500, and workers leave days to be increased from 14 to 18, but after eight internal meetings no solution could be found and the dispute is now in the Labour Commissioner’s hands.