By John Ekongo
Almost 400 workers of the Lev Leviev Diamond (LLD) Polishing Company in Windhoek’s Northern Industrial Area are threatening a stay away if the services of a senior manager at the company are not terminated. This is among other demands raised by the workers.
Yesterday morning, workers converged at the entrance of the diamond cutting and polishing factory where they were supposed to hand over a petition containing their grievances to the management of the company and a union representative. However, none of the two parties was present.
The employees attributed their unhappiness to hostile working relations between them and the general manager, Mike Nesongano.
The letter contains an array of accusations against Nesongano, whom the workers claim uses foul and abusive language at them, disregards proper labour law practices, threatens workers if they do not agree with management decisions – apparently saying “if you do not agree with the decision made by management, then you don’t belong to the company”, unfair dismissals, unequal treatment and of having a demoralising attitude towards his workforce.
The employees also accuse Nesongano of poor administration and favouring foreigners.
“As long as Mr Nesongano is still here in the company, we won’t stop demonstrating,” reads a statement from the workers.
The workers have also taken issue with the company lawyer, who according to them, always sits in their meetings with management.
The workers also feel that the presence of the lawyer in these meetings is tantamount to intimidation and contributes to their uneasiness when it comes to negotiating with their bosses.
“We feel that the presence of the lawyer delays and prolongs meetings,” said the workers.
A meeting was scheduled between the workforce, management and the union yesterday. The workers promised to boycott the meeting if the lawyer was part of the meeting.
Approached for comment, Nesongano referred New Era to the Managing Director of LLD Diamonds Namibia, Kombadayedu Kapwanga, who said his company is looking into the allegations.
“Management is looking into these matters and those allegations,” said Kapwanga.
Mine Workers Union of Namibia’s (MUN), Bro Joseph K Hengari, said it is unfortunate that the workers opted to resort to a demonstration knowing that it might jeopardise discussions with the company.
“We have advised the workers in the presence of the Labour Commissioner that their problems will be resolved and we are working on it,” said Hengari in an interview with New Era.
Hengari said the lawyer represents the company and acts on behalf of the company, while also taking the issue of the workers to management.
“He is the link between the workers and management, and if there is no meeting then how are we going to resolve the burning issues that the workers have?” Hengari queried.
He urged the workers to show some understanding, given the fact that the company has reassured them that they are committed to finding a solution to the workers’ problems.