Monday 19 April 2021
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MUN distraught over Langer Heinrich retrenchments

The Mineworkers Union of Namibia’s Skorpion Zinc branch said it is distraught and in disbelief over the news that close to 600 workers will be retrenched at the Langer Heinrich mine.
In a statement issued yesterday, Chairperson of the Skorpion Zinc Mine Branch Petersen Kambinda said the news did not only come at a wrong time, but has also validated how investors are taking advantage of the country.
“This catastrophe highlights how the investors have been disregarding our Labour Laws. Let us not forget this is the same Company which sent again about 300 workers in the street early last year. Seems this Company every year, their New Year determinations is to send young Namibians in the street.
This year they decided to completely send everyone into the streets.
Our current Labour Act does not really protect the employees and it lets us being unprotected from exploitation, said Kambinda.
According to Kambinda, the Branch Executive has been suspecting that the Company is on its way down, but the Company[Langer Heinrich] has been on denial.
“The Labour Act only gives provisions for consultations, so the power to decide is left to the Company. Unions or the Government are not having power to stop the retrenchment. The companies know about these loopholes and they are making use of it. All they do they consult the stakeholders, while they have made their decision already and these consultations are just for formalities.
This lets the employees to suffer at the hands of our own laws which were supposed to protect us. It’s against this background that we are calling upon the Minister of Labour to really start coming out strongly and halt the intended mass retrenchment at Langer Heinrich.
Our understanding is that he was tasked to maintain the current jobs and assist on creating jobs in this country.”
He called on the Minister of Mines and Energy to monitor investors “who continue exploiting our people and resources without having our country’s interest at heart.”
“Our understanding is that these investors come in our country to exploit our mineral resources and people for them to make huge profits and instead of giving decent jobs to our people and contribute to economic growth of our country,” Kambinda said.
He added: “But what we have being seeing is more only benefiting the investors. They continue to give almost useless jobs (contracts labour system) to our people. Then we just say at least our people have jobs, but we don’t really go down to see if its decent job or we are just happy as long as our people are working. The other reason why these things continue happening is because our Government has not come out strongly to have shares into these companies.”
Kambinda believes if Government had shares in all mines operating in Namibia, it would be represented on the Boards and subsequently be kept abreast of all developments.

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