Eveline de Klerk
SWAKOPMUND – Langer Heinrich uranium mine that is set to go on care and maintenance as from August this year has agreed to pay two months’ notice pay to retrenched employees. The deal will be based on each employee’s total cost to company and the company will write off employees’ study assistance debt.
The mine will also assist its 300 employees that will be retrenched to be voluntarily relocated back to the towns from which they were recruited.
The new retrenchment package comes after the mine was heavily criticised by its employees and the Mine Workers Union (MUN), who accused the mine of offering peanut exit packages to the retrenched staff.
Erongo Governor Cleophas Mutjavikua intervened after workers and unionists handed him a petition on June 7, resulting in closed-door meetings and consultations until a final agreement was reached on Monday afternoon.
The latest agreement obliges Langer Heinrich to pay two weeks’ notice severance pay equivalent to two weeks per continuous and completed years of service. Fixed-term employees that have worked at least a year for the company will also get a decent severance package, New Era can reveal.
Employees will furthermore be assisted with a relocation allowance to transport their goods to the towns where they were recruited.
However, all monies due by employees to the company other than study assistance and bursaries will be deducted from their exit packages.
Mutjavikua said the negotiation process was not easy.
“Since last week we interacted, discussed and bargained around the issue until we reached the final agreement,” he said.
UN chairman at Langer Heinrich, Paulus Iipumbu, said they have at least reached a satisfactory agreement although they are not entirely happy with the manner the retrenchment packages were handled. “Just for future reference, employers have the tendency to settle for the minimum that is stipulated by the Labour Act. We should also look at what is best for employees that will be without jobs,” stressed the unionist.
Langer Heinrich’s human resource manager, Johan Roux, indicated there is hope the mine will be revived. “There is hope we will be back together as this is not a divorce but a separation.”
He said if the mine revives its operations in future the retrenched workers would be given priority among other job applicants as they have the required