Walvis Bay Salt Holdings employees to down tools

namib times 3 July 2015

12 June Namib Times 1-12 (00000002) -salt

Reporter: Marshallino Beukes

Accusations of a discriminatory salary structure, illegal reduction of leave days, illegal reduction of medical aid and more, by employees of Walvis Bay Salt Holdings, have come to a boiling point. An official letter from the workers states that they have resorted to officially down tools, effective from Monday.

According to the workers’ statement this action was prompted by failed attempts via their Union,

the Mineworkers Union of Namibia’s (MUN) to get disputes addressed in a fair, equitable, practical

and cost effective manner.

The workers accuse Walvis Bay Salt Holdings that they did not make any attempt, nor demonstrate to redress the

alleged salary discrimination, but put restrictive and prescriptive principle conditions in their draft

agreement. “We anticipate a strike period of at least two months or more, but the workers are prepared

to make the sacrifice for justice,” is the disgruntled employees’ message.

The Managing Director of Walvis Bay Salt Holdings, Mr Andre Snyman, was contacted and last night

released a press statement. The statement reads that Walvis Bay Salt Holdings (WBSH) is aware of the Mineworkers Union of Namibia’s (MUN) allegations of discriminatory salary practices.

“The company has never in the past, or is presently intentionally discriminating in terms of remuneration offered to any of its employees.

Over time historical discrepancies have developed in the company’s remuneration structure, mostly

as a result of its attempts to accommodate instances where certain employees otherwise might have been retrenched, by transferring these employees to alternative positions in lower grades without lowering their salaries.

These concessions were made with the full knowledge and at the request of the MUN employee representative committee. Despite the fact that WBSH has paid and continues to pay significantly better salaries than the market, the company expressed and confirmed its commitment to correct individual cases of historical misalignment. In this regard, the company has engaged with the local employee representative committee on numerous occasions and positive and very productive negotiations resulted in an agreement that met the approval of both parties.

The company is saddened and perplexed by the fact that the employee representatives subsequently refrained from signing the final agreement, without any explanation.

Despite the company’s attempts to understand this decision, the reasons for this remain unclear.

The company remains committed to engaging all its employees in order to find an amicable solution to the benefit of all parties.”

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