Whale Rock Cement (WRC) which trades as Cheetah Cement, will not pay its more than 200 workers who have downed their tools for the entire duration of the strike, the company’s general manager, Kevin Lee, has warned.
He also said that no leave days shall be accumulated during the period of the strike, meaning that any employee that proceeds with a strike shall not collect any additional leave days during the period of the strike.
Lee has expressed that the management has noted with regret the decision by the workers, under the Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN), to embark on a strike from Thursday, 21 July 2022.
“WRC management and the board have done everything in their power to conclude the protracted wage negotiations with MUN and Workers Representatives at its Otjiwarongo plant, but the Union has been adamant with its unrealistic demands. Management acknowledges the Union’s right and intention to go on strike.”
He said the drastic decisions taken by the company follow discussions and what was agreed upon in the strike rules between the employer (WRC) and MUN.
“The employer is not obligated to provide any striking employee with transport during the duration of the strike. The employer is not obligated to provide any employee with a meal or payment in substitution of a meal during the entire duration of the strike.”
“The employer issued a notice on 18 July 2022, whereby it offered any employee that did not wish not to proceed with the intended strike to contact Management for alternative arrangements prior to the commencement of the strike,” he said.
Lee also confirmed that the company is also about to retrench.
He said that management has notified all employees, the Office of the Labour Commissioner and the Union of the difficult decision to reduce the workforce at the Cheetah Cement factory.
These notifications were given in terms of the prescriptions of Section 34 of the Labour Act 11 of 2007. The reason for the reduction in the workforce is two-fold.
“Firstly, due to the economic circumstances the company has faced since the start of operations in 2017 and secondly, due to the said economic circumstances, the company has found that restructuring on operational grounds will result in the optimal utilisation of the remaining workforce.
“An estimated 115 employees may be affected by the intended staff reduction. Management has scheduled a meeting on 03 & 04 August with the affected employees, the Union or their Representatives to negotiate the following:”
“Alternative to retrenchments; Criteria for selecting the employees to be retrenched; how to minimise the retrenchments (if possible); conditions on which the retrenchments are to take place; and how to avert the adverse effects of the retrenchments; and the severance package,” he said.