Reinstatement of 24 Expelled Employees Demanded

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By Kuvee Kangueehi Windhoek The Secretary-General of the Namibia Food and Allied Workers Union (Nafau), Kiros Sackarias, has written a letter to the Natural Meat Producers through their lawyers, instructing them to reinstate the 24 employees expelled earlier this week. In the letter, Sackarias demands that the company, which is based at Aranos, reinstate its employees and suspend them with full pay if the company believes any disciplinary action should be taken against them. Speaking to New Era yesterday, Sackarias said the services of these 24 employees were terminated with no valid reason to warrant their summary dismissal. He said a manager at the company, Abie Smith, is accused by the employees of being the main culprit behind the termination of their services. Sackarias said he was surprised that someone could just wake up and out of the blue dismiss all 24 employees. “Is there no law in place that is supposed to guide the employer and employees in this country?” He said if the employees have committed offences, they should be charged accordingly so that they can defend themselves. He noted that his Union was never informed of any complaint by the company pertaining to the employees until their letter of termination of services, despite the fact that the two parties have a Recognition Agreement in place. He said employers such as Natural Meat Producers needed to be called to order for their unlawful and unfair labour practice in the country. “Such employers are the source of confrontation and anarchy in the labour market and should not be allowed to spoil the labour peace at will without them being challenged.” He vowed that Nafau would not sit aside and look on while it has the responsibility to defend the workers. And his Union is currently busy establishing more facts relating to the case for further counter-actions. The employees at Aranos were still locked outside the business premises yesterday, and the governor of the Hardap Region was expected to travel to the small town to look into the matter. Nafau has also sent a representative to the town. Sackarias noted further that his Union is also disturbed by a company called Tsumeb Productivity Labour Force, which is operating under Family Choice. The secretary-general said the workers at the company have been complaining of unfair labour practices and bad treatment by their employer. The workers allege that the company does not provide for any benefits and has been deducting employees’ social security fees twice. “The worst form of unfair labour practice by the company is that the workers are not allowed to take leave.” He added that if one of the employees goes on leave, the other employees are requested to pay. The secretary-general observed that such a company might be one of those labour hire companies that have become more business-oriented than concerned with the welfare of the workers in the country. He called on the owner of the company to change its attitudes and to stop exploiting its employees, and also to put an end to the violation of the labour laws with immediate effect.