Swakop Uranium signs agreement with union
The signing takes place just more than a week after Husab workers, mostly special equipment operators, accused their employer of using delaying tactics when it came to finalising the agreement - even though the mine claimed that it was in the final stages of concluding the agreement.
During a peaceful demonstration at Swakop Uranium's head office in Swakopmund recently, workers gave their employer a week to address a list of issues that irked them. This list included the call for the finalisation of the recognition agreement in which they alleged that they were not going to tolerate being exploited “like those who work in china shops.” The workers also demanded a N$5 000 housing allowance, 100% medical aid cover, training, fair and transparent recruitment and that all ex-employees be recruited.
Asked if Tuesday's signing covered all the demands, MUN(Mineworkers Union of Namibia)'s Erongo regional coordinator Cleopas Ngwena said that the agreement only covered one issue: the agreement. In line with Ngwena's comment, MUN president Ismael Kasuto quipped that before the signing of the agreement, MUN and the mine were not yet partners - suggesting that the workers' protest recently was the right time to air their grievances.
Swakop Uranium's CEO Zheng Keping said that the agreement signalled the willingness of all parties to foster closer relations.“We recognise that harmonious relations with MUN are crucial in order to create a platform whereby all of us can contribute to make Swakop Uranium a mining company that is globally recognised, competitive and the pride of Namibia,” he said. He stressed that the mine would implement training and development programmes to increase workers' skills, one of the demands made during the protest.
Kasuto said the union would promote sound negotiations, harmonious labour relations and cooperation between management and the employees.