Strike looms at Chinese-owned Rössing

10 March 2020 | Labour

The Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) Rössing branch is planning to go on strike if CNNC (China National Nuclear Corporation) Rössing Uranium does not meet their wage demands.

This was announced by MUN Rössing branch chairperson Johannes Hamutenya at a press conference aimed at providing an update of the 2020 wage negotiations with CNNC Rössing Uranium Limited.

“After two conciliation attempts, a certificate of unresolved dispute of interest was issued by the Office of the Labour Commissioner on 3 March. At Thursday's general meeting, the employees unanimously gave a mandate for MUN leadership to prepare a strike,” said Hamutenya.

Although the chairperson chose not to disclose what MUN's demands from CNNC Rössing's management are, he said many promises were made by CNNC before their acquisition of the mine, but Rössing management's political and diplomatic stunts have started to emerge less than a year after the Chinese nuclear giant's takeover.

“The annual wage increase is one of the many conditions that have been severely threatened by CNNC Rössing's management. Over nine years we have enjoyed peaceful, harmonious and mutual annual wage increases.

“That is no more as it is now under siege by the draconian regime that cares less about the employees' welfare, but is only interested in dancing to the tune of their capitalist masters at the expense of the Namibian employees, families, communities and resources,” Hamutenya said.

CNNC's promises included job security, a prolonged life of the mine and compliance with legislation as well as agreements, policies, better conditions of employment and the continued recognition of MUN as the exclusive bargaining agent.

Hamutenya added that as a result of the CNNC Rössing management's incompetence, delays in the wage negotiations exerted immense pressure psychologically and emotionally, and comprised the overall health and safety of employees.

“Chinese investors like CNNC are not here to better Namibian lives. They are here to exploit Namibian people and its natural resources for the benefit of their national government,” said Hamutenya.

Other matters MUN is unhappy with include: Employees being threatened with job losses and closure, mismanagement and money wastage by management, the reintroduction and reinforcement of the apartheid contract labour system and labour hire, a refusal to provide and disclose information for the purpose of collective bargaining, as well as overcompensation of management and certain elite employees.

The MUN Rössing branch is made up of at least 850 Rössing Uranium employees. 

ADOLF KAURE

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