By Kuvee Kangueehi
Barely a week after the Mine Workers Union of Namibia (MUN) had settled the protracted negotiations between themselves and Skorpion Zinc Mine, the union has requested the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration to investigate the manner in which work permits are being issued to foreigners working at the mine, whereas their qualifications can be locally obtained.
At a press conference this week, the Secretary General of MUN Bro Joseph Hengari said the ministry must ensure that the Immigration Control Act is adhered to by Skorpion Zinc Mine.
Hengari said his union strongly condemns the import of aliens, whilst the country has qualified nationals to fill the required positions and said the MUN will not sit back until justice prevails.
The union leaders said the MUN has already written a letter to the mine to air their dissatisfaction regarding the number of foreigners that are employed at the expense of locals.
He said most of the senior positions at supervisory level are occupied by South Africans with no Namibians as understudies.
“We are aware of the fact that the South Africans are given all the top positions, even if they do not have any qualifications at the expense of locals.”
Although Hengari could not give the exact figure of foreigners employed at the mine, he noted that the mine has a total of 1 065 employees of which 685 are permanent and 450 signed-up members of the MUN.
Hengari believes that the 615 employees that are not signed up are foreigners because they are not allowed to belong to trade unions.
The MUN further appealed to the Equity Commission to investigate why Skorpion Zinc Mine does not comply with certain sections of the Affirmative Action Act.
The union called on the management of Skorpion Zinc Mine to lift the suspension without conditions on its members that took part in a protected industrial action.
“The management must stop its harassment and treat employees with the respect they deserve.”
Hengari said their intention to go on strike was a wake-up call to the management of Skorpion Zinc Mine, who mistakenly thought they are untouchable.
“Our intention to go on strike had nothing to do with future interested investors with good management practice, sound labour relations practices and good development intention for the country, nor scaring away potential investors.”
The secretary general thanked the Government for the role it played in soliciting industrial peace between the two equal stakeholders and social partners.