Omuthiya-Employees of Basil Read Mining at Weatherly International’s Tschudi Copper Mine last week staged a peaceful demonstration and petitioned the management over unfair working conditions as well as low wages. The demonstration was held at the mine situated some 20 kilometres outside Tsumeb in Oshikoto Region.
Hundreds of employees denounced forms of discrimination and threats perpetuated by the management and demanded payment of overtime and lunch hours which have been due since 2014.
“We are the ones that are running the production but we are treated as slaves in our own country. We are forced to work in the sun, rain, dusty conditions while people sitting in air-conditioned offices are treated special and given quality personal protective equipment (PPE)” stressed Tracey Naris, who read the petition on behalf of the employees.
Furthermore, they said they feel threatened and not happy with the words used by the operations manager Theo Silver, he allegedly often saying the gate is open for those that are not happy with their salaries. ‘When you came here, you signed the contract because of your hunger, I did not call you from your house. You came looking for a job at Basil Read, if you are not happy you must resign and go to B2 Gold or Swakop Uranium where there is better life for you. No gun was pointed at you to sign the contract,’ stressed Naris, while narrating Silver’s inappropriate remarks.
Naris said employees are working under unsafe conditions such as without communicating radios. “Drilling officers are forced to work without radio, also they are working on misfiring block. We can clearly see that we are working under dangerous conditions, our lives are at stake,” fumed Naris.
The workers demonstrated under the auspices of the Mine Workers Union of Namibia (MUN) and gave the management 10 days to respond. The petition was received by Silver who said he will forward it to the right authorities.