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Skorpion Zinc warns of closure if outsourcing is stopped

SKORPION Zinc mine says should the outsourcing of work to a third party be stopped, the mine will have to close by mid-2017, and all 1500 jobs will be lost.

In a statement yesterday, the mine said it is imperative that the work on Pit 112 begins immediately, and that delays may have an impact on the technical viability of the project.

The statement follows a stand-off between the mine’s management and the Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) over the mine’s plan to outsource work to Basil Read Namibia, which will result in 278 workers in the mining department becoming redundant.

According to the statement, the Pit 112 project will involve mining of waste rock to broaden and deepen the current Pit 103, which will run out of mineable ore in June.

The company said the retrenchment of 278 people, who will most likely be employed by the contractor, is the better of the two devils as failure to proceed with the new plan will mean the closure of the mine and the loss of 1 500 jobs from the middle of 2017. These are the only two options available.

But MUN general secretary Ebben Zarondo told The Namibian yesterday that the union’s stand on the issue remains that Skorpion Zinc Mine’s intended retrenchees must keep their jobs at Skorpion.

The affected workers are set to leave the company next week.”We still stand here to say no to contractors,”Zarondo said yesterday.

“The retrenched employees will receive favourable retrenchment packages from the company, well above the minimum required by legislation, and they will be given preference for employment by Basil Read Namibia,” the mine said in their statement.

Basil Read Namibia will be engaging over 450 employees for their operations at Skorpion over the next three years, and there is the potential for these mining employees beyond three years as Basil Read is a significant and thriving company, the statement further reads.

Skorpion said Basil Read Namibia will provide specialist expertise and the urgently required bigger fleet of millions of dollars-worth of heavy mining equipment.

The statement, which was sent out by the mine’s corporate affairs and sustainability manager, Nora Ndopu, said Basil Read’s jobs are reserved for Namibians, and preference will be given to former Skorpion employees.

She said since Skorpion Zinc Mine has been in operation since 2003 and was originally expected to close in 2015, the next phase in the life extension of the mine is the expansion of Pit 112.

The general manager of Skorpion Zinc, Irvinne Simataa, noted in the statement that the mine’s management continues to engage the affected employees and the union.

“We appeal to all employees, the union and the Rosh Pinah community to work with us during this process, and the timely start-up of the expansion work on Pit 112. We ask all stakeholders to look to the future, rather than the end of Skorpion Zinc,” said Simataa.

Article source: http://www.namibian.com.na/52578/read/Skorpion-Zinc-warns-of-closure-if-outsourcing-is-stopped

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