Racism claims surface at Nictus

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By Rochelle Neidel

TSUMEB – Nictus Furnishers in Tsumeb stands accused of paying its workers based on their race and the relations workers have with the furniture shop’s managers.

Impeccable sources revealed blacks working for over five years get the same salary as whites that have been working at the furniture shop for only three months.

In some cases whites that just recently joined the shop are paid more than their black colleagues.

New Era is in possession of documents showing discrepancies in salaries of black and white staff.

An authoritative source in the know, who requested to speak on condition of anonymity, said that while many have tolerated ill-treatment from their bosses over the years due to the fact they do not want to join the ranks of the unemployed, some are fired on flimsy grounds which do not comply with Nictus’s staff policies.

For instance workers are told to resign should there be stock missing during stocktaking, even when there is proof of theft by perhaps customers.

Some staff have been laid off for not reaching monthly targets whilst other staff are given more time to prove their competencies.
“After almost 25 years of independence is it fair that whites are paid more for the work that blacks can also do? So we must work and they get paid – whites only working for three months get the same amount as blacks that have been working for close to 10 years in the shop,” complained one of the aggrieved workers.

Sources also accused the management of mistreating black workers and threatening to fire them if they question dubious management decisions.

“People don’t know their fate daily, it’s as if you come to work not knowing whether you will still have a job tomorrow or not,” said a Nictus staff member.

Staff are expected to use water from the tap in the toilet for drinking as they are not allowed to leave the shop.
New Era visited the shop and witnessed first-hand a worker fetching water from the toilet to drink.

The worker was reluctant to be interviewed citing victimisation and possible loss of employment.

When contacted for comment the operations manager for Tsumeb, Phillip Robberts, requested New Era to send him a list of written questions via email but he was unable to reply to the questions at the time of going to press.

A representative of the Metal and Allied Namibian Workers’ Union (Mamwu) Michael Kangombe said: “If it is true, it is unfair and unprocedural. The issue of salary discrepancies (based on race) should not be tolerated. People should not be paid on the basis of their skin colour or race.

“I find it strange that someone who has been working there for years gets the same salary as the person who just joined now.”
Manwu represents workers in furniture shops, besides other sectors.

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