“Try it one more time and you will all be on the street,” was the message from the Rosh Pinah zinc mine management to workers who took part in an impromptu strike last week.
Production at the mine came to a standstill after workers downed tools last Wednesday and Thursday, to demand the removal of the engineering manager and an employee relations specialist, along with other work-related grievances they wanted addressed, which the workers said management had ignored for too long.
The workers shut down the entrance to the mining area with large stones in the road, while heavy-duty vehicles were parked at the gate, blocking any vehicles from entering the site, but they are now back to work.
The mine says whoever dares embark on another illegal strike will be fired immediately.
Allen Kalumbu, the chairperson of the Mineworkers Union of Namibia branch at Rosh Pinah, confirmed that the workers had returned to work on Friday and that they would be issued with final warning letters today for taking part in what was deemed unlawful strike action.
Kalumbu said a meeting between the union and mine management reached an agreement at a meeting on Thursday to issue final warnings to the workers who took part in the strike and the hope is that management does not backtrack on the agreement and do something else.
“The situation is back to normal. The workers are back to work and will be issued with final warning letters for taking part in the illegal strike. We hope and trust that the mine follows the agreement,” he said telephonically.
Regarding the workers’ demand for the removal of two managers accused of maltreating the workers, Kalumbu indicated that all related issues were still unresolved and that the union would now lodge a case with the Office of the Labour Commissioner.
New Era understands that the heated meeting last week had the mine management divided, with one group insisting all workers be fired for taking part in the strike action, while the other tried to talk sense into their colleagues, saying it would not be possible to immediately replace all 320 workers and continue production.