Rössing workers anxious about retrenchments
THE Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN)’s branch representative at Rössing Uranium, Ismael Kasuto says workers within the bargaining unit still do not know which employees face possible retrenchment.
Kasuto said a final decision has not yet been taken on who will be affected by the retrenchments.
The mine’s Managing Director, Chris Salisbury announced on Friday that 276 employees would be retrenched by next month.
“There is limited choice for contesting the announcement made by the company’s Managing Director, but we are currently busy engaging in discussions with Rössing in a collaborative manner,” Kasuto said, adding that the union has started negotiating with Rössing and will only know the way forward by Friday.
The unionist said tension has been running high amongst the employees since the announcement.
The jobs to be affected will include 21 management roles, 25 professional roles, 28 supervisory roles and 202 operational and maintenance roles.
Salisbury indicated during a media conference on Friday that the company has resisted the need to cut jobs at the mine for as long as possible, but at this stage, there is no other alternative.
“Every effort will be made to minimise the impact of the proposals on job losses through the freezing of all non-essential employment, taking into account future retirement dates, and the management team will work with other mining companies to explore potential employment options,” Salisbury explained.
He added that during the last financial year up to December 2012, the company incurred its second consecutive major operational loss of N$474 million, and said it is not generating positive cash flow from its operating activities.
This negative cash flow occurred despite a 26 percent rise in production to 2 633 tonnes, and continuing operational efficiencies which have cut unit costs by 31 percent through a programme of cost reduction, improved productivity, reduced contractor spend and improved ore grade.
The Rössing Uranium Mine is one of the largest open-pit uranium mines in the world, and is located in the Namib Desert near the town of Arandis, about 70 kilometres from the coastal town of Swakopmund. – Nampa