|Miners demand N$20,000 each to end strike|
|Written by By Floris Steenkamp|
|Wednesday, 28 September 2011 23:55|
ARANDIS - Rio Tinto Rössing Uranium’s written request to the Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) for specific evidence, to back union accusations that the mine is using non-striking workers to perform crucial tasks of striking workers, has so far been ignored. The MUN charged this week publicly that by using non-striking workers to do the work of striking union members would violate the strike rules that had been agreed to earlier between the parties. |
All workers who are members of the Mineworkers Union of Namibia are taking part in the strike and account to almost two thirds of the mine’s work force.
“We maintain our position that we are going by the rules of the strike,” Rössing senior corporate communications specialist, Jerome Mutumba, told Informanté on Wednesday. Mutumba added that the mining company directed a written request to the MUN for more specific evidence to back the allegations, but at the time of going to press, according to Mutumba, there was no response forthcoming.
Meanwhile, late on Wednesday, workers maintained their sixth day of strike action at the mine’s main entrance. Electricians, diesel mechanics, operators, general workers, and cleaners were shoulder-to-shoulder at the mine’s entrance, demanding their issues surrounding alleged unfair bonus practices be met.
In the wake of last Friday’s rejection of the mediated agreement for an additional bonus pay-out, workers indicated to Informanté on Monday that they were willing to accept an immediate after-tax payout across the board to all striking workers of N$20,000. Other striking miners overheard the conversation with the Informanté reporter and added “If they give us N$20,000 after tax the strike is over.”
“Many of us work at the mine since the seventies. We want to work, but we strike as a result of the unfair treatment we received with the production bonus pay-outs,” the newspaper was told.
What remains unclear is whether the MUN knows about the suggestion of N$20,000, and whether this had been communicated to the union’s negotiating counterparts at Rio Tinto Rössing Uranium. When the newspaper visited the scene of the strike on Monday, the union’s representatives were not available, as they were in a meeting with the mine’s representatives.
At the time of going to press it was still not known whether Rio Tinto Rössing was successful in its labour court bid in Windhoek yesterday [Wednesday 28 September 2011] to have the strike ended on the basis that it is a dispute which should, in essence, be resolved without the need of strike action.