Best Cheer workers on strike

15 April 2021 | Labour

STAFF REPORTER

KARIBIB

A strike was staged at Best Cheer Investments on Monday in a bid to draw attention to the plight of workers at the Chinese-owned company at Karibib where marble is mined and processed.

The workers voted in favour of a strike and set the relevant processes in motion since the issuing of the certificate of unresolved dispute on 17 February.

“We are planning to hand over a letter to the management to reinforce our demands,” regional coordinator of the Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) George Ampweya said.

“We are disheartened by the intentional disregard for set collective bargaining principles and the disingenuous fashion in which the company negotiation team, led by its legal officer Mr Chris Theron, has conducted themselves.”

‘Total disregard’

Ampweya accused management of refusing to meet the union’s demands for better pay.

Ampweya said the union submitted its proposals in February 2020.

“After only one meeting, management persisted with a zero percent increase, citing a strained economic climate and other Covid-19-related excuses.

“With this is mind, the union revised its initial proposal, which was also categorically rejected by the management negotiation team.

“This led to a deadlock and the union was forced to refer the matter to the office of the Labour Commissioner for conciliation in March 2020.

“We proposed an increase from the current N$3 070 to N$4 270 and an amount of N$700 which would apply as a housing allowance for those who reside in the town areas, and a bush allowance for those who reside on site at the company quarries.”

No comment

He said the company refused to increase salaries, even after two conciliation meetings at the office of the labour commissioner.

This resulted in the parties being issued a certificate of unresolved dispute.

Best Cheer Investments Namibia human resources manager Lovina Plato was contacted for comment, but was driving at the time and promised to return the call once she was able to do so.