Namibia - Nearly 200 Namibian workers at Swakop Uranium’s Husab mine near Swakopmund ended their illegal strike on site last week following a dispute with contractor Group Five.
The strike action started on 5 June to protest against the employment of foreign personnel. Although the strike action by the workers, contracted by construction firm Group Five, remained peaceful, foreign workers including Filipino, Ghanaian and Thai nationals were barricaded inside their residences close to the mine.
A spokesperson for the striking workers demanded a 25% cap on foreign employees. Discussions are underway between the relevant parties, but no resolution has yet been achieved.
Group Five, responsible for Husab’s infrastructure on site, is working alongside numerous contractors to ensure Husab moves into production in 2016. It is expected to be one of the largest uranium mines in the world.
A local Namibian newspaper reveals that Metal and Allied Namibian Workers Union general secretary Justina Jonas said that the issue of Group Five employing foreigners has been debated since the company starting working on site in October 2014.
Jonas was quoted saying there are more foreigners involved in the project than Namibians – an “embarrassment” to the Namibian government.
NASAWU petitioned against the lack of Namibian representation in senior positions and demanded that Spanish nationals who allegedly dominate these positions be forced to leave Namibia.
At least 200 workers at Namib Mills also peacefully protested on 11 May for the removal of several foreign managers accused of racism and failing to implement affirmative action policies.