Rosh Pinah Plans to Retrench 124 Workers

Plans by Rosh Pinah to retrench 124 miners have not been well received by workers, who have now turned for political support to the Governor of the Karas Region, Clinton Swartbooi for support to ensure that they receive decent severance packages.

Some employees of the Rosh Pinah Zinc Corporation in the south yesterday handed over a petition to the Oranjemund constituency councillor, Eliphas Iita to forward to the governor. The Rosh Pinah Lead and Zinc Mine, which is owned by global mining and commodity trading company, Glencore on Friday said it is planning to retrench 124 workers or about 20 percent of the staff, at the Rosh Pinah mine in an apparent bid to control costs. Councillor Iita yesterday told New Era he received the petition on behalf of Governor Swartbooi. “I will forward this petition to the Governor and he will proceed with the matter from there,” said Iita.

In a parallel development yesterday however, the Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) confirmed it has referred the matter to the Office of the Labour Commissioner and also referred it as an urgent matter to the Labour Court, which was scheduled to attend to the issue yesterday afternoon already. “We feel the company negotiated in bad faith and we want to negotiate in good faith. Whoever is laid off must be offered a proper retrenchment package,” said MUN Secretary General, Eben Zaronda. Glencore purchased a stake of just over 80 percent in the lead and zinc mine in 2011 from South Africa’s Exxaro and other shareholders, and has been reviewing its operation. “The management of Rosh Pinah Zinc Corporation has announced changes that aim to address significant economic pressures,” Glencore said in a statement. “We sympathise and understand that this may be a difficult time for some of our employees and their families. As a result, we have engaged the Chamber of Mines to coordinate the possible appointment (of the staffers losing their jobs) at other mines within Namibia.” The underground Rosh Pinah mine produced about 114 000 tonnes of zinc concentrate and 20 550 tonnes of lead concentrate in 2013, up 20 percent and 17.5 percent respectively compared to 2012, according to the Chamber of Mines. Figures received from the chamber indicate that the mine has 600 permanent employees and about 138 temporary employees and contractors and had a turnover of about N$834 million in 2013.

Source : New Era