Security Strike Proved Worthwhile

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By Engel Nawatiseb TSUMEB The managers of Khomas Security Services, Michael van Wyk and Jeffrey Bause, say labour relations at the company have improved dramatically following a strike by security guards that halted operations of the company in the Oshikoto Region last November. They (managers) told New Era that security personnel and management have resolved the dispute that was prompted by irregularities in the salary payments of employees. Security guards at the company laid down tools and abandoned most premises of the Ministry of Health and Social Services for alleged failure by the company to pay their salaries. Close to twenty guards vowed not to report back for duty unless their monthly payments, some reportedly delayed for up to three months, were paid in full by their employer. At the time, Bause confirmed that all security guards had refused to work despite attempts to keep them on duty while their grievances were being sorted out. The managers had however claimed that the problems were related to an Internet banking system that the company used to pay workers’ salaries. Meanwhile, sources at Onyuulaye and Oshigambo districts told New Era that some guards have not been paid since August last year although they continue to work. “Maybe the company improved in certain regions but here at our health centres, some are still working on empty stomachs,” said a source. The Ministry of Health and Social Services awarded a tender for security services at its health centres in Oshikoto to Khomas Security Services, believed to be a black economic empowerment group. Some of the centres affected by the stay-away were reportedly the Lombard hospital, the health regional office, the town’s clinic and the Tsintsabis and Oshivelo clinics. The Director of Health in Oshikoto, Maria Kavezembi, said this week that problems had been resolved between the company and its workforce. “We can confidently state that security services are well on track after the strike which lasted three days.” The health director urged contracting companies to always render efficient and effective services to the health authority, claiming that in most cases, full payment is made to the contracting companies for services rendered to the health institutions. “I am happy to hear that the feud amongst them has been addressed so that innocent people do not suffer in the process. If property is stolen, then the patients and Government would suffer as a result. Such a situation by service delivery agencies should not be tolerated at all because we have previously suffered tremendous losses in stock.”