By Hoandi !Gaeb
KEETMANSHOOP – Workers of Salini Construction the international firm contracted to build the N$2,8 billion Neckartal Dam have threatened to strike if their demands for transport are not met.
Workers allege the company uses overloaded buses and trucks to transport them to the site and also claim the company does this because it has not yet completed the construction of houses for workers at the site of the multi-billion-dollar dam.
Pandemonium broke out yesterday when disgruntled workers arrived in two buses at the town offices of Salini with various demands they want the company to address before they go back to work.
The management of Salini was however yesterday silent on the issue.
New Era understands workers reluctantly went back to work after consultations and intervention by management.
The bone of contention is allegedly the way workers are transported from Keetmanshoop to the dam site and back.
Workers say they are transported in overloaded buses and sometimes in trucks, contrary to a government directive that workers may not be transported in unsafe trucks or buses.
The Neckertal Dam project faced several delays before actual construction work kicked off and local headmen and politicians claimed many of the people hired for even unskilled work on the project are from outside the //Karas and Hardap regions, an allegation that the company vehemently denied.
Meanwhile, the governor’s office says that despite efforts to attract more skilled people from the southern regions for employment on the project, little interest has been shown.
Lucia Basson, the special advisor to the governor of the //Karas Region, called on inhabitants of the southern regions to come forward and submit their curricula vitae to be considered for placement for employment on the site.
She singled out skilled workers in steel, welders, plumbers, diesel mechanics and operators.
The //Karas governor’s office acts as an agent for employment creation at the project to alleviate fears of unfair recruitment and discrimination against residents of the south.