Erongo governor intervenes in Uis tin mine labour dispute – The Namibian
ERONGO regional governor Neville Andre has intervened in saving the jobs of Metal Mill Engineering’s 40 employees at the Andrada tin mine at Uis.
Most of the workers who were retrenched have been re-engaged.
Andre recently revealed that both parties acted contrary to certain parts of the Labour Act.
Metal Mill Engineering provides engineering and maintenance services through a long-term agreement to Andrada Mining Limited’s tin mine at Uis.
“Wages paid by Metal Mill to its employees were between 6% and 116% higher than those prescribed in the Federation’s collective agreement,” he said.
Metal Mill recently offered 47 of its employees a two-year contract extension in accordance with minimum wages for the Construction Industries Federation of Namibia and the Metal and Allied Namibian Workers Union, as regulated by a collective agreement.
The workers, however, wanted their hourly rate to be pegged at N$90 per hour across the board.
Andre said the increase suggested by the workers equated to an average increase of 118%, varying between 31% and 480% of current employee packages.
The Namibian last month reported that the workers were claiming the employer refused to listen to their demands and conditions.
They called the company “autocratic” and further claimed they were dismissed verbally by company owner Giel Verster, and that the company refused to give them dismissal letters.
Following the expiry of the contracts, Metal Mill appointed 20 new employees in January 2023 to ensure continuity of its service offering.
After the intervention of the governor’s office in January, 11 of the former employees at Metal Mill were re-employed.
Furthermore, Andrada agreed to absorb an additional 10 former employees into available vacancies in its engineering department, while committing to take on the rest of the 16 former workers on non-artisanal jobs at the mine, which will be available from March.
“Therefore, the mediation process resulted in the re-employment of all the ex-Metal Mill workers to be absorbed between Andrada’s Uis Mine and Metal Mill,” the governor said.
Verster confirmed the resolution of the company’s labour dispute.
“We are pleased to have reached a fair agreement, and would like to thank both the governor and Andrada Mining for their involvement in the resolution process,” Verster says, assuring that the company is committed to applying employment best practices.