Farm Klein Okapuka
Workers of Namibia Poultry Industry (NPI) on Friday held a peaceful demonstration at the company’s premises calling for an end to the transportation of staff in open trucks.
Workers handed over a petition to the company’s management, highlighting their grievances, and demanded answers to the issues raised within 48 hours.
Among their concerns is the company’s transportation of staff in open trucks, which the workers say must be replaced with buses. The petition also calls on the company to introduce black workers into managerial positions.
The workers also called on the Employment Equity Commission to investigate claims of alleged discrimination at the company.
NPI Managing Director Dawid Koen received the workers’ petition, but made no comment.
NPI is part of the Namib Mills Investment group of companies, which include Namib Mills and Feedmaster. The company is situated at Klein Okapuka Farm about 40 kilometres outside Windhoek en route to Okahandja and employs more than 700 staff.
Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation Erkki Nghimtina has repeatedly called for an end to the transportation of workers in open vehicles.
He urged any companies using such modes of transport to ensure that there are benches and railings to ensure the safety and health of workers, as stipulated by the Road Traffic and Transport Regulations of 2001.
Furthermore, government amended Regulation 266 of the Road Traffic and Transport Regulations and the new law that came into effect on July 28 stipulates that “A person may not operate a goods vehicle conveying persons on a public road unless that portion of the vehicle in which such persons are being conveyed is enclosed to a height of (a) at least 350 millimetres above the surface upon which such person is seated; or (b) at least 900 millimetres above the surface on which such person is standing – in a manner and with a material of sufficient strength to prevent such person from falling from that vehicle when it is in motion.”
According to National Road Safety Council (NRSC), executive secretary Eugene Tendekule, anyone caught committing an offence in this regard can be fined N$4000. “Please note though, that we are still consulting all authorities and this figure can be increased,” he said at the time the new amendments came into force.