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Former Endiama workers and company in disagreement over compensation

Half a hundred workers from former Endiama mining projects took advantage this Monday of the company's 39th anniversary celebrations to protest at its headquarters, demanding the payment of compensation that the diamond company says it has already settled.


Paulo da Conceição, representative of the workers of five diamond projects in Lucapa (Luanda Norte) told Lusa that Endiama (Empresa Nacional de Diamantes de Angola) is "working with the workers", demanding the payment of pensions and compensation.

"What we want is retirement and compensation. They say that we have already been compensated, this amount being equivalent to 17 months' salary, but only seven have been paid," criticized the workers' spokesman during the protest in Luanda.

Paulo da Conceição regretted that in Sociedade Mineira do Lucapa (SML), which had a stake in the state-owned Sociedade Portuguesa de Empreendimentos (SPE), the diamond company compensated the SPE and left the workers to their fate.

"Now they're telling us to go look for the SPE in Portugal, we're Angolans and we belong to Endiama," the worker said.

The conflict that opposed the Angolan state company and SPE over five years came to an end at the end of 2016 with the signing of an agreement to transfer SPE's 49 per cent share in SML to Endiama in exchange for a payment of 130 million dollars.

José Fernandes Borges, a former Endiama worker in the Luarico diamond protectorate, explained that wages, social security payments and compensation involving 2408 Lucapa workers.

It all began when the mines "fell in income" in 2008, leading Endiama to lay off the workers "until second orders," he said.

"In 2013, Endiama sends for us and gives us the basic salaries, but since then neither water comes nor goes, it hasn't compensated us, nor given us the days of delay", José Fernandes Borges complained.

He said, in the negotiations with the company that took place in December, the company will have said that they could "pay a salary to spend the festive season and then they would solve the problem".

The worker also said that the company did not pay its social security contributions: "We have workers at retirement age who went there and there was nothing".

In a statement to journalists, after the company's balance sheet, Endiama's chairman, José Manuel Ganga Júnior, acknowledged the existence of a "liability" to Social Security, but denied that there were any outstanding wages or compensation payments.

At stake are processes dating back to 1992 and 2008, involving a total of around 6000 workers, in Endiama's accounts.

"We've been working and we have a solution, we worked with the National Institute of Social Security to calculate the contributions due," said Ganga Júnior.

The calculation assumes 15 years of benefit for the case of the Cuango miners (1992), a total of 4.4 billion kwanzas, already paid, and 2.2 billion kwanzas in the case of Lupaca (2008) of which 900 million kwanzas remain to be paid, he said, adding that the amount will be paid in January.

"Of the information we have, a number of compensations and salaries were paid at the time, both in the case of Cuango and the five projects paralysed at the time of the financial crisis [Lupaca]. Our decision is not to settle any salary, most of them were not Endiama workers, but from companies in which Endiama participated," he said.

Ganga Júnior recalled that these are old cases (the first of 28 years ago) that the current administration inherited: "We found negotiations that took place under previous administrations where they agreed on compensations paid and this led to the conclusion that the pendency results essentially from the regularization of social security. The people who signed up have nothing more to complain about in terms of salaries, and so we have not made that commitment".

However, he was willing to "continue the dialogue", advising workers to opt for the intermediation of the General Labour Inspectorate.

"The [agreement] that would result would be adopted by both parties", he assured.

Endiama, which began its 39th anniversary celebrations on Monday, took stock of the previous year's activity and the outlook for 2020, and continued with a commemorative programme until Friday that included a lecture and exhibition.

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