Henima Investment (HI) employees deployed at the multi-billion-dollar Neckartal Dam claim they are constantly victimised and threatened by their Italian supervisors.
HI is a local company sub-contracted to construct the N$2.8 billion dam in the //Karas Region.
Requesting anonymity in fear of losing his job, one of the team supervisors claimed that the Italian supervisors harass the workers on a daily basis. He says the workers are now tired of being treated in such an inhumane manner in their own country.
He said the supervisors constantly threaten to fire the workers for no good reason, and on top of that they use abusive language when speaking to them, according to the allegations.
“We are threatened that we can be fired and removed from the site without even consulting our boss,” he said.
The team supervisor further said workers have tried to bring the matter to the company’s attention but they were only told that the company would draft a letter to the project manager. The managing director of the company allegedly promised the workers he would speak to the Salini management to seek a solution on the concerns raised by HI workers.
Another worker who spoke to this reporter questioned the professionalism of the Italian managers, saying they tell the workers that they can be fired if they are not liked.
“This is work, you don’t need to like me to work with me, because it’s all about output,” he said.
He said workers do not work freely and have to do certain things even if it’s against their will, because they are afraid they will lose their jobs if they don’t do as the Italians wish.
Contacted for a comment on the matter, HI human resource manager Johannes Humphries claimed he was not aware of any complaints of such nature, but he confirmed having met with the three HI supervisors on the abusive remarks the supervisors make towards the workers.
“I did meet with supervisors on remarks made by Italians in their language. I don’t know how they understand it, but that matter was properly addressed,” he said.
He explained that after meeting with the supervisors he took up the matter with the company’s managing director who communicated with Salini’s HR manager and the matter was solved amicably. No other grievances were reported to the company by the workers, he added.
“If you have any letter with the grievances, please give us a copy,” he said over the telephone.