B&E takes union to court over strike

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WINDHOEK – B&E International Namibia has filed a motion with the Labour Court against the Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) as a result of a strike and lockout that started at the company premises last week Thursday in Oranjemund.

The company is asking the Labour Court to instruct mineworkers to immediately return to work, as they form part of the essential services that include sea wall maintence and flood prevention, and also wants the court to order the workers to immediately make their services available to the company.
According the motion filed at the Labour Court, such workers are interdicted and restrained from withholding their services.
In the court documents, B&E International Namibia says lives will be in danger if the sea wall is not maintained on a daily basis and this will also affect the mining operations.
Furthermore, the company is asking the MUN to respect the rules relating to essential services, as set out in the determination of February 10, 2015, of the Labour Act 11 of 2007.
The matter will be heard tomorrow at 09h00 at the Labour Court. Sisa Namandje & Company law firm is representing B&E International Namibia.
B&E International Namibia workers on Monday took to the street demanding better conditions of employment. The company is contracted by diamond company, Namdeb, to provide services in mining, seawall management, fuel management and treatment. Over 200 workers, who took to the street, were demanding an increase of 12-20 percent in basic wages, medical aid, transport allowance and a signed off bonus scheme, but the company is offering 15 percent in wages and N$300 for medical aid, without transport allowance and a signed off bonus scheme.
On Monday, MUN Southern Regional Chairperson, John Ndeutepo, accused B&E International Namibia of undermining the strike by issuing individual agreements within the bargaining so that employees can stop the strike.
“The company is paid above Namdeb cost of such operations yet it pays poor salaries,” he said. He said that the company also failed to demonstrate the assurance issued by Namdeb that the decision to outsource their core functions was not driven by cheap labour.
“It is obvious that the company can afford to pay decent wages but they refuse to do so out of pure greed,” he added.

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