More than 400 workers to be retrenched
OVER four hundred workers from the Tschudi mine are facing bleak futures as they will be retrenched at the beginning of March this year.
This is according to the Assistant Secretary General of the Mine Workers Union (MUN), Paul Situmba.
In an interview with Informanté today, Situmba stated that the ceasing of operations at the mine is mainly due to a lack of funding.
He added that Weatherly, Tschudi mining’s parent company, is in the negative as its financing company Orion has reduced its funding as mining activities are no longer viable.
It is reported that Weatherly has found it increasingly difficult to honour a US$90 million (N$1.28 billion) debt to financing company Orion for the construction of the Tschudi mine, with the company’s debt mounting to US$140 million (N$2 billion).
He stated that mining activities would come to a halt at the end of March, starting the first phase of retrenchment, whilst the second phase of retrenchments will follow in June.
“They are looking at an alternative investor, however, if they don’t get one, over 400 workers will lose their jobs. Weatherly hosts a total of 150 permanently employees, as well as subcontractor workers from Basil Read and B & E mining, which make up the bulk of the employees that will face the axe,” Situmba said.
Touching on the status of negotiations, Situmba stated that Weatherly has already given their company position, and that further negotiations will be carried out next week Wednesday.
“It’s quite disappointing that this type of thing is happening. It is especially concerning taking into consideration the current negative economic growth. Although retrenchment is protected by the labour act, government should hold hands with unions as they are the watchdog. You can’t have an investor coming here for 3 to 5 years, makes their profits and dumps workers on the street,” Situmba chastised.
The Tschudi copper mine is located approximately 20km west of Tsumeb, in the Oshikoto Region of Namibia, and is owned by Weatherly Mining Namibia.