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Rally To Rehire Fired Namibian Miners By Chinese National Nuclear Corporation

sm_namibia_dismissed_rossing_shopstewards_solidarity_pamphlet.jpg
Date:
Tuesday, March 28, 2023
Time:
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Event Type:
Protest
Organizer/Author:
United Front Committee For A Labor Party
Location Details:
San Francisco Chinese Consulate
Geary & Laguna St.
San Francisco

All Out To Support Namibian Rossing Miners On March 28, 2023 On 3rd Anniversary of Their Dismissals & Attack On Namibian Labor Lawyer Hewat Beukes

San Francisco Chinese Consulate
Geary & Laguna St.
San Francisco

A two year labour dispute between the Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) and China National Nuclear Corporation Rössing Uranium Limited (CNNC RUL) is setting the stage for future battles in Africa against union busting by Chinese state owned entities.

The mine is one of the largest open pit uranium mines in the world and began operating in 1976.

The dispute began in August 2020 after China’s state owned China National Nuclear Corporation bought a 68.62% stake in the Rössing Uranium mine from Australian mining giant Rio Tinto Zinc in July 2019.

The Rössing Uranium mine is one of the largest uranium mines in the world, and one where the MUN spent decades struggling successfully for excellent collective agreements and policies for its 780 members.

The former Rössing branch chairperson Johannes Hamutenya worked for the mine for 14 years before being fired in August 2020 along with the eight other members of the MUN Rössing branch executive committee at the time: Julius Ashipala, Albertos Alexander Hennes Haraseb, George Martin, Samuel Shindume, Fillemon Ihuhwa, Paulus Shikongo, Hafeni Nalusha and Ruben Snydewel.

The entire mineworkers’ union branch leadership was fired by the CNNC RUL bosses after refusing to allow the Chinese owners to do away with basic health and safety standards in the collective agreement at the mine.
In China, the only legal unions are those affiliated to the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU), an organ of the ruling Chinese Communist party. The China Labour Bulletin, a non-profit Hong Kong-based publication which advocates for ACFTU unions to become independent of the ruling party, has noted that any attempt to establish an independent trade union will be seen by the Chinese Communist Party as a political threat. Union committee activities are usually restricted to handing out gifts on holidays and organizing social functions, as opposed to advocating strongly for workers’ rights.

At the time of the Rössing Uranium mine’s sale, Reuters reported Namibian mine and energy minister Tom Alweendo saying “We have no objection to the sale provided that the buyer abides by what’s expected of him by our laws”.

But CNNC RUL failed dismally to abide by Namibia’s laws. Namibia’s Labour Act says it is an unfair labour practice for any employer to unilaterally alter any term or condition of employment at a workplace. But the new owners insisted quite soon after buying the mine that they would change the 33 year old MUN recognition agreement.

The CNNC RUL also asked to re-negotiate the recruitment policy, to remove the union’s offices, archives and boardrooms at the mine, to do away with safety officers and affirmative action monitors, to re-negotiate the performance and conduct procedure, the disciplinary code, to reduce annual and sick leave days and to rewrite the retrenchment policy.

The dismissed shopstewards say the CNNC RUL also wanted to breach the Affirmative Action Act by choosing what to pay individual employees, whereas the act clearly states that jobs of equal value must be compensated equally.

If the shopstewards did not agree – which they did not - the CNNC RUL said they would “nullify” the collective agreement – again, this is not lawful.

By August 2020, the matter came to a head. CNNC RUL first lobbied the national leaders of the mineworkers union to “discipline” the Rössing branch leaders and prevent them from objecting to the planned downgrade of their working conditions.

Then four people had arrived from China to take up management positions at the mine without the correct visas. The shopstewards informed their lawyers who exchanged letters with CNNC RUL’s lawyers that were then covered by the media. Police then arrested the managers, who were released later that night and left the country.

After this, the nine branch executive committee members were charged with gross negligence, bringing the company into disrepute and breach of confidentiality and dismissed.

Ever since then, the CNNC RUL employers have repeatedly thwarted the shopstewards’ attempts to seek justice in different courts. The matter was initially scheduled for arbitration in April 2021 – the company opposed this, demanding that the case be heard in the Labour Court. This was thrown out by the Labour Court on 8 June 2021 and the case rescheduled for arbitration.

The case was then scheduled for arbitration on 31 May, 2022. It was later partly heard in 2022. The company called eight witnesses against the shopstewards, but two of these witnesses were fellow dismissed workers. The witnesses did not testify to any wrongdoing on the part of the axed shopstewards. The case was supposed to resume in October 2022 but the CNNC RUL again secured another postponement. Currently, there is no new date set for the case to resume and the axed shopstewards remain in limbo, with “life getting tougher and tougher”, they say.

The union leaders also wrote to Chinese president Xi Jinping in English and Mandarin in 2021, asking him to reinstate them, noting that before the mine was sold to CNNC, the Namibian workers were “repeatedly reminded of the role the Peoples’ Republic of China played during the war of our liberation. It seems the saviour has become the killer” the letter says.

The mine is also 10% owned by South Africa’s Industrial Development Corporation, but it has not objected to the CNNC employers’ treatment of the Namibian workers.

A international solidarity campaign formed to highlight China’s role in undermining local labour laws. Valter Sanches, the general secretary of IndustriALL, the global union federation for 50 million members of mining, energy and manufacturing unions in 140 countries, wrote to CNNC on 21 January 2021 saying “This anti-union approach to labour relations is against existing collective bargaining agreements that the company has signed … and threatens the sound relations that exist between workers and the company”.

Trade unionists and workers affiliated to the global campaign have also protested outside the San Francisco Chinese Consulate.

The international solidarity campaign’s co-ordinator, San Francisco based Steve Zeltzer, says “Chinese development projects, in many cases, are through governments that are thoroughly corrupt and done in secret as they are in Namibia. The miners were told that the labour relationship they had with former owner would continue but they discovered that CNUC had no intention of respecting their contract and labour rights. Workers are now being intimidated not to speak up. This is straight out union busting which is why the global labour movement is opposing this. The fight for the MUN Rössing leadership is about all workers who are now working on Chinese development projects throughout the world” Zeltzer said.

Report On Namibian State's Attack On Our Family & SF Labor Council Resolution to Support Namibian Minner’s Labor Lawyer Hewat Beukes & to End the Shut Off Of His Water & Electricity

REPORT ON THE STATE’s ATTACK ON OUR FAMILY
HEWAT & ERICA BEUKES 14 APRIL 2022
Erica and I are outlaws in this country. We have been banned for Life from running water, grid electricity, the right to shelter, and livelihood. We are 72 years of age.
Historical background TO this situation is: Since 1969 I have been part of the organised struggle for independence. In 1970 I joined the National Convention a united front for the Independence of Namibia. In 1974 Erica and I founded the Socialist Youth Movement clandestinely. We joined the SWAPO youth league (SYL). I lead this organization as its de facto leader.
We supported the struggle of the SYL and PLAN in Zambia against SWAPO’s corruption, collaboration with the South African regime, and its illicit recognition as the Sole and Authentic representative of the people of Namibia. We supported the campaign led by my father to stop the execution of 1,700 PLAN Fighters. In 1984 Erica founded the Committee of Parents an organization of relatives fighting against the mass killings torture and disappearance of thousands of Namibian refugees in the Terror campaign conducted by the SWAPO in Angola, Zambia, and Tanzania.
In 1988 our political group successfully called out mass protests on 4 May 1988 against south African presence in Namibia and as a commemoration of the Cassinga Day Massacre. This ironically allowed the colonial legal fraternity to prepare to take over the Namibian judiciary under the scam of human rights support to detainees.
I was spearheading resistance education since 1970 in which we attempted to augment apartheid education with necessary substance. In 1984 I founded the science and mathematics program for working-class children.
Since 1990, in post-colonial Namibia, we resisted the rapid degeneration of the country into a cesspit. We founded the Workers Advice Centre (WAC) in 1991 to assist workers to fight against the rapid disappearance of their rights and the attacks launched by the colonists and imperialists. We opposed the down gradation of the education system and its outsourcing to British racists. We assisted the working class to fight the theft of pension funds and the privatization of everything.
We fought the incestuous relationship between the corporations and the state organs.
Erica headed the joint committee of relatives and plan Fighters for an inquiry into the mass murders of the SWAPO.
We opposed the general lawlessness of the State and the capitalist corporations.
The corporations and the state responded amongst others as follows:
In 2005 the High Court and the First National Bank sold our residence without an order of Court in the name of our building society which had been deregistered in 2002 without our knowledge.
In a concerted attack, the municipality cut our water supply while the dispute was in court.
After 12 years in 2017 the Supreme Court ruled that we had no right of access to running water.
During the period 2005 to 2017 the legal abuse against us went unabated and took gross forms.
Our prepaid electricity was cut by municipal officials accompanied by armed police. Writs of eviction issued against us without an order of Court by the registrar. Rogue judges abused the court.
The case is now in the Supreme Court in which the rogue judges intend to drag the matter out indefinitely. We will not accept any of the Namibian judges on our case.
We would not have attempted to rescue our house in a cesspit which is the judiciary of this country.
We do it for two reasons: Our home is our monument because it was bombed while we were inside; secondly, we have no other means of shelter and survival.
We are using 25-litre water containers as our water source. The degradation of both hygiene and convenience is energy-sapping. Our solar system is effective but limited. The gas stove is hazardous.
We request assistance in the following form: international legal monitoring of all court proceedings from hereon; contributions for legal fees to legal counsel outside this country; financial assistance to upgrade both our solar system and water supply system.
Hewat Beukes.

SF Labor Council Resolution to Support Namibian Minner’s Labor Lawyer Hewat Beukes & to End the Shut Off Of His Water & Electricity

https://sflaborcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Resolution-to-Support-Namibian-Minner_1.pdf

Whereas, the San Francisco Labor Council voted to support the nine dismissed Namibian Mineworkers Union Rossinng Branch union leadership who had been fired by the Chinese National Nuclear Corporation CNNC; and

Whereas, on July 20, 2021 Namibian police surrounded the home of their lawyer Hewat Beukes in Khomasdal and tried to illegally gain entrance to their home without a warrant and government authorities also have cut-off supplies of water and electricity in the middle of the Covid lockdown in Namibia; and

Whereas, Nambiian lawyer Hewat Beukes also represents the Namimbia United Fisherman’s union as well as many other workers in Namibia; and

Whereas, Erica Beukes his wife, who leads the Namibia Workers Help Center which has supported community members around housing, justice and health; and

Whereas, other disabled residents of their home are also threatened by this action and this is causing a health hazard to the Beukes and other residents; and

Whereas, this attack on the Beukes is not only an attack on them but the Rossing mine union leaders and working people in Namibia and a threat to legal representation for all; and

Whereas, the next labor arbitration hearing for the MUN Rossing Miners is on October 27, 2021; and

Whereas, there will be an international day of action in solidarity with the fired Rossing miners and against forced contract and part time temporary work,

Therefore be it Resolved we call on the Namibian government to end to this government harassment of lawyer Beukes and his family and immediately end the shutoff of his water and electricity; and

Be it Further Resolved we support the International Day of Action for the MUN Rossing fired mine union branch leaders, in defense of their lawyer Hewat Beukes; and

Be it Further Resolved we encourage financial contributions to Hewat Beukes legal defense and that of the Mineworkers Union of Namiibia Rossing Branch fired members; and

Be it Further Resolved we call on Namibian government officials to halt this political targeting of the lawyer Hewat Beukes for his legal work in support of the struggle of the Namibian unions and working people; and

Be it Finally Resolved this Council will contact the below officials to let them know of our concerns urge all affiliated bodies to concur with this action and send statements of their own.

Windhoek Mayor Job Shipululo Amupanda shipululo [at] gmail.com
Chief Justice Peter Shivute cjsecretary [at] jud.gov.na
Judge President Petrus Demaseb Loraine.Cloete [at] jud.gov.na
Copy statement to: hewatbeukesz9 [at] yahoo.co.uk and nehoya141082 [at] gmail.com

OPEIU 29 AFL-CIO 11


The Attack On Namibian Labor Lawyer Hewat Beukes & The Namibian Working Class
https://youtu.be/FCHF-kBOK-s
Namibian labor lawyer Hewat Beukes reports on his life with his wife Erica and the personal attack on him by the Namibian government. The SWAPO government officials have illegally shut off his water and electricity to his home because of his role in representing the MUN Rossing union branch executives who have been improperly dismissed by the state owned Chinese National Nuclear Corporation. He also represents other workers including the United Fisherman of Nambia.
There is an international campaign to stop the attacks and to demand that his water and electircity be turned back on.
This interview was done on 7/31/21.
Additional media:
The Union Busting War On Namibian Workers
https://youtu.be/twVLySyVcT8
Namiibia Karibib Best Cheer marble processing plant strike enters third day
https://www.nbc.na/news/karibib-marble-processing-plant-strike-enters-third-day.44864
Striking employees of Best Cheer company block entrances to premises at Karibib
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQ-JmoYceQc
Marble factory workers want improved conditions
https://neweralive.na/posts/marble-factory-workers-want-improved-conditions
Namibian MUN Rossing Miners Leadership Win Labor Board Ruling Against Stalling By China Owned CNNC
https://youtu.be/53-gMl-Sd3U
Namibia Mine Workers Union Rossing Leaders Report On CNNC & Letter To Chinese President Xi-Jinping
https://youtu.be/oNoaMxLiC9U
The Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) Rossing Branch & The Struggle of The Namibian Working Class
https://youtu.be/1LCD5ZuAgvc
Namibian Rössing Mine Workers Face Covid-19 & Attacks From State Owned China National Uranium Corporation Limited (CNUC)
https://youtu.be/pHsDDqy_WPU
Namibia Rössing, union in wage deadlock
https://www.namibian.com.na/198882/archive-read/Rössing-union-in-wage-deadlock
China and Namibia Rössing Workers on Collision Course
https://www.facebook.com/informantenam/posts/3090166147716991/
Namibia MUN claims China National Nuclear Corporation is falling short of its Rossing promises
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nLuFIxwcIM&feature=emb_logo
https://www.nbc.na/news/mun-claims-china-national-nuclear-corporation-falling-short-its-rossing-promises.29304
Namibia Rössing uranium mine union members face dismissal by Chinese owners
https://www.namibian.com.na/203896/archive-read/Rössing-union-members-face-dismissal
For more info:
Internatonal Labor Solidarity Committee For The Namibian Miners
https://ilscnamibia.wordpress.com
https://www.facebook.com/ILSCNamibianMiners
ilscnamibia [at] gmail.com
Production of Labor Video Project
http://www.labormedia.net

THE NAMIBIAN FISHERMAN
THE STORY OF NAMIBIAN FISHERMEN 1 February 2023
The story of Namibia's fishermen is closely linked to the fishing scandal of the Namibia and Iceland. The Namibian fishermen for years objected to the government of Namibia about the rotten employment conditions such as 21 to 36 hour shifts on the boats in which they were often only allowed 4 to 6 hours sleep. The result was that there where injuries beyond acceptable numbers. Loss of limb and a loss of a fisherman at sea.
The fishermen objected to the destruction of the fishing industry by fishing in the Spawning grounds and destroying the recovery of fishing stocks. Documents show that fishermen objected since 2000 at least that the government did not act against the fishing companies that broke the law. Four thousand of them marched numerous times to show their anger.
In 2014 the fisherman forced the government to record their objections and complaints. The Government sent the fishermen's objections to the fishing companies. The Government was forced to investigate the fishing companies when they did not respond. In a report dated 14 November 2014 the Ministry of Labour confirmed the Fisherman's objections.
Despite the demands of the fisherman for the government to enforce the law, it did nothing. As a result of the dangerous employment conditions and non-payment of benefits and overtime the fisherman went on a legal strike on the 26 of October 2015. They were illegally dismissed by the fishing companies.
Since then they tried in vain to register a case with the labour commissioner. The labour commissioner simply refused. They then went to the Labour Court. The Labour Court and the High Court work together to refuse to allow them to register the case with the Labour Commissioner.
In the meanwhile, the destruction of the fishing resource continued. The first was the pilchards stocks that were destroyed by overfishing. The government ignored the scientists who told them that they were overfishing. Even when there were no more pilchards it gave out quotas as late as 2022.
Back in 2014, the cabinet took a decision to allow for secret quotas to be issued by the Minister of Fisheries. But the minister had to get the permission of the cabinet for these quotas. He had to get a stamp of approval. The cabinet used the minister and a number of errand boys to sell the illegal quotas to Iceland and unknown entities.
In 2019 Al-Jazeera exposed the massive scandal internationally and the Namibian government put the errand boys in jail while the cabinet went scot-free.
The cabinet went ahead as before to issue quotas to themselves and members of Parliament.
In the court, the judges who had fishing interests and were part of the fishing scandal were the judges in the Fishermen's case.
On the instructions of the judge president, the deputy judge president, and one judge Harold Geier, judge Coleman opened a case in the name of the leader of the Fishermen's association without his knowledge. He made a legal firm Amoomo the representative of Mathew Lungameni, the chairman of the association without his knowledge. The case is set down for 2 February 2023.
In the meanwhile, the fisherman made a representation to the International Labour Organisation for the violation of ILO conventions such as forced labour and breaking labour laws amongst others.

The Fishermen of Namibia are supported by Unite the Union of Great Britain; The Workers International; workers in the United States of America; South African workers and workers around the world.
Added to the calendar on Sun, Mar 12, 2023 11:24AM
§Workers Of Namibia Face Union Busting Attack From Chinese & Other Capitalists
by United Front Committee For A Labor Party
sm_namibia_nat_workers_rally_12-3-21.jpg
Namibia is being looted of it's resources from the fisheries by the Icelandic Fishing Company to the Chinese National Nuclear Corporation. The SWAPO government which says it bring socialism with Namibian characteristic is doing the exact opposite as it has allowed foreign capitalists to take over the resources and bust the unions reintroducing contract labor that existed under their apartheid regime that was controlled by South Africa.
§Namibian Labor Lawyer Hewat Beukes Is Under Attack By SWAPA Gov & CNNC
by United Front Committee For A Labor Party
sm_namibia_uf_rally_hewat_12-3-21.jpg
Namibian labor lawyer Hewat Beukes has been under attack by the government which turned off his water and electricity to his home. The state owned Chinese National Nuclear Corporation has also won a judgement from the corrupt judiciary against Beukes for
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