Mistrust scuppers Namdeb talksBy: LUQMAN CLOETE
PRIME Minister Nahas Angula is the latest national leader to mediate in the hope of ending the four-week-old strike at Namdeb.
Angula met the company and union representatives yesterday afternoon after he took over from Labour Minister Immanuel Ngatjizeko.
Before Ngatjizeko, his deputy minister and former National Union of Namibian Workers' president Alpheus Muheua also mediated in the talks, but to no avail.
Ngatjizeko said an “mistrust” between the parties scuppered efforts to end the strike costing Namdeb an estimated N$4 million a day in lost revenue.
“In my personal view there is indication that both parties want to end the strike, but because of mistrust they are unable to reach an agreement,” said Ngatjizeko.
“I hope that the parties will find an amicable solution to end the strike sooner rather than later,” Ngatjizeko added.
The union leadership, Namdeb management and Angula were expected to meet yesterday at 16h00 to resume talks on ending the strike, Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) Oranjemund branch secretary Gert Iikela yesterday told The Namibian.
“The union leadership will meet today at 14h00 to strategise before a meeting later with the Prime Minister,” said Iikela.
The parties are at loggerheads over housing and utility allowances for workers from the defunct Bogenfels mine, who have moved to other mines.
The company’s position is that redeployed Bogenfels workers should choose between free company housing without housing and utility allowances, or retain the allowances and pay a minimal rent for company accommodation.
The union claims there was no mention of rent when the parties had agreed on the issue earlier, and demands that employees get both the allowances and free accommodation.