2 – Repeated violations of rights
The ITUC Global Rights Index

Namibia

The ITUC affiliates in Namibia are the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) and the Trade Union Congress of Namibia (TUCNA).

In practice

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Namib Mills’ workers strike against unfair labour practices15-06-2015

On 15 June 2015 around 200 workers at Namib Mills staged a peaceful demonstration at the company against unfair labour practices. The workers also handed over a petition containing their grievances – among other, issues concerning salaries – to the Namib Mills management.
In particular, the main request regarded the re-instatement of two colleagues dismissed from the company, namely Desmond Nunuge and Mwilima Yamba: the first colleague was dismissed because of alleged allegations proving that he had stolen sugar, while the latter, a truck driver in Katima Mulilo, was dismissed because he allegedly had stolen tie-down straps from a NM customer.
In response Haingura Christian, a workers’ representative, opposed the allegations, stating that Nunege was dismissed because he was sensitising his colleagues about some abusive company practices, while Yamba was fired because he had received an informing letter from the Namibia National Labour Organisation (Nanlo), the union representing NM workers. Mr Haingura added that the workers handed over a petition in May 2015 to NM management, receiving no feedback because the company does not recognise as legitimate the Nanlo trade union, despite the fact that it is a certified one stating that it is not a real trade union but rather a federation of trade unions.

Workers at Rio Tinto Uranium Mine denounce company violations of the code of conduct and its return to apartheid14-08-2015

On 14 August workers at Rio Tinto’s Rössing Uranium Mine (represented by Mineworkers Union of Namibia – MUN) organised a demonstration and delivered a petition to management against its authoritarian behaviours. In July 2015, in fact, Rio Tinto installed surveillance equipment in haul trucks without consultation of workers’ representatives in violation of Rio Tinto’s code of conduct “The way we work”. The petition also raised the point on victimisation of workers’ representatives demanding the withdrawal of charges against workers that protested against the installation of surveillance equipment and asking the company to comply with the company code of conduct and to treat workers respectfully.
Rio Tinto behaviours putting at risk workers’ lives and threatening their right to bargain collectively have been pointed out in IndustriAll report Rio Tinto: The way it really works. In 2015 the Company had witnessed worker fatalities in Canada, Chile, Indonesia, Madagascar and South Africa and perpetrated violations of workers’ fundamental rights of freedom of association freedom of association The right to form and join the trade union of one’s choosing as well as the right of unions to operate freely and carry out their activities without undue interference.

See Guide to the ITUC international trade union rights framework
, a safe workplace, security of person as well as violations of indigenous peoples’ rights (e.g., free, prior and informed consent; religious and cultural freedom; benefits of resource exploitation) in different countries.

Purity Manganese suspends 50 workers for going on strike01-03-2015

The Purity Manganese Mine suspended 50 employees in March 2015 for going on strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
. The workers were suspended on grounds of holding an illegal strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
, following the death of a colleague, 33-year-old Charles Tuandi, allegedly from injuries sustained when he hit his arm against a window on the company’s premises. Workers were also angry because management refused to recognise their union, the Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN), had delayed the payment of salaries, and had a very poor health and safety record.

The company unilaterally cut normal working hours by half in late 2014 claiming financial difficulties. It closed between 27 November 2014 and 12 January 2015 and workers did not receive their salaries. When employees requested the pay due to them, they were confronted by police officers called in by the company.

“The delays in payment resulted in workers incurring debts and defaulting on payments and ultimately being listed as bad creditors. The workers’ pension subscriptions which were deducted from their salaries never reached the service providers, and the policies were cancelled for defaulting,” explained the general secretary of the MUN, Ebben Zarondo.

Zarondo said that these issues had been reported to the Ministry of Labour but no action had been taken against the company. Furthermore, during the mine’s 15-year existence, there had been five deaths of employees who were injured on duty, most of whom the company refused to compensate.

Mine seeks to undermine strike16-02-2015

The Mineworkers Union of Namibia’s regional chairperson, John Ndeutepo, accused B&E International Namibia of attempting to undermine a strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
. Workers had downed tools at the mine on 16 February 2015 after 199 union members had voted in favour of the strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
. The company tried to undermine them by issuing individual agreements within the bargaining unit bargaining unit A group of workers within a particular company, establishment, industry or occupation that constitutes an appropriate unit for the purpose of collective bargaining.

See bargaining agent
, and bribing employees to waive their right to strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
in exchange for a backdated increase from the end of February. The workers were demanding a 12 per cent - 20 per cent increase on their basic wage, medical aid, transport allowance and bonus. The company offered a 15 per cent wage increase and N$300 for medical aid.

Shop stewards suspended 08-12-2014

Namibia Beverages, the producer and bottler of Coca-Cola in Namibia, suspended two shop stewards, named only as Johannes and Abraham, on Monday 8 December 2014. The suspension followed action by the union which had taken up the workers concerns, namely that they were being victimised and exploited purely because of their skin colour. The workers held a demonstration outside the company building on Thursday 11 December 2014 in protest, calling for an investigation into the management’s behaviour.

First National Bank by-passes union10-07-2013

After negotiations between the First National Bank (FNB) and the Namibia Bank and Allied Workers Union (NBWU) failed, management stated that it would negotiate wage increases with individual workers. The union made clear that this statement was in violation of the recognition recognition The designation by a government agency of a union as the bargaining agent for workers in a given bargaining unit, or acceptance by an employer that its employees can be collectively represented by a union. agreement between FNB and the union. Furthermore, the bank engaged in unfair labour practices during the negotiations by threatening and intimidating unionised workers.

Workers concerned for their rights31-12-2011

Unions and workers have workers expressed strong concerns about Chinese construction companies who regularly ignored workers’ rights and the country’s labour laws. One example during the year was that of New Era Investments (see 2012 Trade union rights violations). Between 60 % and 70 % of construction tenders are awarded to Chinese companies.

Employer hostility31-12-2010
Discrimination against independent trade unions30-11-2008

Trade unions not affiliated with the ruling SWAPO (South West Africa People’s Organisation) party have continued to be marginalised. Only representatives of the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) serve as members of the Board of Directors of the Social Security Commission and the Government Institution Pension Fund.

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