Ten workers of Henima Investment (HI), which is the local company subcontracted to help construct the N$2.8 billion Neckartal dam, were last week fired for alleged non-performance.
A letter seen by New Era dated March 31, from Escobar Gabriel and Velo Roberto, both said to be supervisors at the dam, states that the ten workers needed to be replaced as soon as possible.
The letter, which lists eight names of general workers and two of supervisors, indicates that some of the workers were being dismissed because they stopped working last week in support of three of their colleagues that were refused entry to the work site. The workers allegedly refused to work in protest of what they called unfair treatment of three colleagues, whom the supervisor known as Marco Vinti barred from entering the area where they work. The work stoppage is being considered as an illegal strike and their dismissal is based on that.
In the letter the reason to replace the general workers reads, ‘Already out because yesterday incited a strike’, and ‘normally disappear, no performance’.
As for the two supervisors their dismissal is allegedly because of their lack of control over their subordinates and equally no performance from both of them – ‘no control of workers, no performance’ reads the letter on the reason to replace the two supervisors.
“There are ten workers to replace as quickly as possible, better this week,” states the letter on the urgency to replace the dismissed workers.
Speaking to some of the workers, they indicated to New Era that such firing of workers is a common practice at the construction site.
They indicated that normal procedures were not followed at all before they were fired, adding that some of the dismissals were personal because the supervisor allegedly didn’t like some of the workers or might have disagreed with them on certain things.
The workers say they have never been called in for any hearing or given any kind of warning prior to their dismissal, which is not in line with the labour laws.
One of the employees who refused to be named told New Era the workers had met with the managing director of Henima, but he was already busy looking at possible candidates to replace them when they met.
He furthermore told them he would talk to them when he came back from South Africa next week.
“Apparently he was told that if he doesn’t terminate our contracts and replace us he will lose the contract with Salini,” said another employee.
Attempts to get comment from both Salini and Henima proved futile at the time of going to print as their phones remained unreachable.
New Era however has it on good authority that ten new workers started work this week.