OSHAKATI – About 44 employees of Game at Oshakati went on strike yesterday demanding a N$490 salary increment, a starting salary of N$1 000, and housing and transport allowances. Workers are also demanding ‘tax revenue refunds’, alleging that other companies and government offices have already ‘refunded their employees but Game refuses to do so’.
“There is racism and favouritism here at Game in Oshakati. We want the manager to be removed,” they said. They said some employees were injured on duty but Game refused to foot medical bills and pay compensation for the injuries.
Workers also accused the company of not making a contribution to the Social Security Commission, saying female employees do not receive maternity benefits as they are told they do not qualify for such benefits when they claim such benefits.
“We reminded them that the majority of employees, close to 90 percent, do not have houses and have to rent or depend on their parents for housing,” said one of the employees.
“We are understaffed, and as a result one person does the work of three people because the company hardly replaces employees who resigned. And if they employ a new person, we are faced with the responsibility of training new staff, while at the same time doing the work of a person or two people who resigned and we do not get paid for that,” said another worker who spoke on condition of anonymity fearing victimization.
Yesterday, when New Era visited the shop a few workers were on duty while the majority were picketing outside with union representatives. Namibia Food and Allied Workers Union (NAFAU) representative in Oshakati, Tyluis Heskiel, said workers would stay away from work until their demands are met. “What employees are demanding is peanuts and the strike is legal because workers followed all procedures,” said Heskiel. The strike will continue today from 8:30 to 17:30.
“The workers will only go back when their demands are met. When employees are on a lawful strike a company is not allowed to employ new workers,” said Heskiel who alleged that Game brought in “scab workers or flexi-timers” to fill the void of striking workers. Justice Katjivi the manager at Game in Oshakati refused to comment to the media.
By Loide Jason