Rössing workers demonstrate in solidarity with bus drivers

Employees of the Rössing Uranium Mine held a peaceful demonstration yesterday and handed over a petition which expressed their dissatisfaction with the manner in which nine bus drivers were charged for an alleged unlawful work stoppage and subsequent withholding their bonuses.

At the start of November 2018, Rössing management allegedly without consulting employees introduced contractor buses with Rössing Uranium drivers to transport employees from the mine to Walvis Bay and back to the mine.
These buses, according to the workers, were unsafe to transport employees and very uncomfortable. An employee claims to have suffered a miscarriage as a result of traveling on these busses.
By 8 November, employees in an outcry requested for the immediate cancellation of these busses. They cited safety, health and job performance as reasons for the request.
On 14 November employees of Rössing Uranium mine refused to get onto the contractor busses. According to Johannes Amutenya, the trade union representative at Rössing Uranium, on that day the Rössing management reached an agreement with the employees and the contractor busses were stopped.
Amidst this the bus drivers were charged with unlawful stoppage of work and their bonuses were withheld.
Yesterday, workers of the Rössing Uranium Mine handed a petition to management, demanding all charges against the bus drivers to be dropped. Workers argue these drivers were caught up in the middle of the storm but at the same time demanded the transport management department to be held accountable for the whole debacle. Workers feel they should have been consulted on the decision made by the transport management department.
The petition reads: “the action against bus drivers is baseless as it is bad faith negotiation and unprocedural. We demand the immediate withdrawal of the case against the bus drivers and the planned scheduled hearing for today and we demand disciplinary action to be taken against the aforementioned culprits”.
An agreement between employees and the Rössing Uranium state that the company will provide semi-luxury busses that are safe, health friendly, owned and operated by Rössing Uranium”.
At the time of going to press, the Rössing management and the workers union representative were in a meeting to try and reach an amicable solution. No comment was thus forthcoming.
Former Mine Workers Union (MUN) Chairman and current Regional Chairperson Commander, Abiud Kapere, and Veteran Unionist Festus Shikongo were present to show support. George Martin, MUN Rössing Branch Secretary handed over the petition to the Managing Director of Rössing, Richard Storrie (below addressing workers on a public address system).

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