Swakop Uranium vows to sue person behind leaked recording

Recording implies Governor of Erongo suggested ways for mining company t sidestep Mine Workers Union in wage talks

Sharlien Tjambari and Floris Steenkamp

Swakop Uranium threatened with legal action this week against the person, or any persons, behind a leaked recording in which the Governor of Erongo, Clr. Cleophas Mutjavikua, allegedly advised the mining company behind closed doors on possible ways to outsmart the Mine Workers Union of Namibia (MUN) to back out of some sticky points in the current wage negotiations.

The recording went viral on social media this week resulting in calls for the resignation of Governor Mutjavikua and also the Mine Workers Union of Namibia feeling affronted by this move which is against the spirit of free bargaining and mutual faith.
The Mine workers Union of Namibia in the meantime in a press statement in Windhoek expressed disappointment in the Governor’s utterances on the recording, reports Namib Times Swakopmund Office’s Sharlien Tjambari.
Governor Mutjavikua also in the meantime went public after the recording surfaced and apologised, adding it was never his intention to cause any harm and said at no point did he contemplate any worker to lose his or her job.
SU in a statement acknowledged the wage negotiation has been going since 15 October last year and some differences arose. One of the main sticking points are the percentage wage increase.
Governor Mutjavikua was invited to act as mediator to clear the differences, according to the statement.
According to the statement Governor Mutjavikua called for separate one on one meetings with the MUN and with SU.
A recording surfaced this week which seems to have been made during the one on one session between the Governor and SU.
The recording suggests Governor Mutjavikua suggested a number of ways exist to use clauses in the Labour Act to circumvent some sticky issues. These suggestions bear down to undermining the Mine Workers Union of Namibia, according to critics. One of the suggestions were allegedly to use the excuse of organisational restructuring [and by implication retrenchments] which could render points of difference from the side of the Union obsolete.
Potentially damaging allegations are further that Governor Mutjavikua ruled out any intervention by President Hage Geingob in the matter, as this is election year and the vote of Mineworkers Union members are needed.
In the statement this week SU neither denies a closed-door [“caucus”] meeting took place between the mining company and the Governor nor that the recording is not authentic.
What SU does deny is that the mining company made the recording nor that a third person were asked to make such recording. It is further denied that SU made any information available to such third party.
In the statement SU condemns the recording and threatens with legal action against the person responsible. It does indicate more than one perpetrator are involved, but does not state whether these are SU employees.
Also in today’s edition: the Mine Workers Union of Namibia takes on safety at Swakop Uranium’s Husab Mine, following a string of alleged mishaps with explosives during and after mining blasting operations.

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