Hardstone Accused of racial bias

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By Emma Kakololo WINDHOEK Black employees of Hardstone Processing (HSP) (Pty) Ltd have accused the company of discrimination. The company is engaged in diamond cutting and polishing. One of the men, who requested for anonymity for fear of victimisation, claimed that white employees are paid better salaries compared to blacks whom he alleged receive starvation wages. He further claimed that the company favoured coloured workers over other indigenous tribes. “We came across a payslip of our fellow coloured who got an increment, while we were told when we requested for a salary increment that the company did not have money to increase our salaries,” he told this paper yesterday. He alleged that the worker was given a 100 percent increase. “We all are getting a salary of N$1 000, but he gets N$2 000 after the increment. We all started working the same year, same position. He also left the company at some stage for a period of a year, but the company took him back.” HPS is a joint venture between a local Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) company and foreign investors and specialises in processing high-quality large diamonds, which mainly yield finished products of one carat and up. The company was established in 2001. Elizabeth Tjiurutue, a cleaner was suspended last week for allegedly violating the company’s rules of confidentiality by circulating the payslip of a colleague who got an increment. “We are treated unfairly. Most of us here were given warning letters after we complained to management about the issue, for being in disagreement,” said another employee. They also claim that the company does not offer them medical aid as well as pension and only registered them with the Social Security Commission. HSP Managing Director Burhan Seber could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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