Khorixas – Guards employed by Ovakuatjivi Trading Enterprise CC, a Windhoek-based firm with a tender to look after health facilities in Opuwo, Outjo and Khorixas, have allegedly not been paid since last November.
The employees besides allegedly not being paid for the past two months told New Era yesterday they are furthermore not registered with the Social Security Commission (SSC). They claim they work over 12 hours without getting paid overtime, get no double pay on Sundays or public holidays, they do not get a pay slip and also no leave days. A few months ago the employees were given uniforms after three years but for that N$60 has been deducted.
“We are not registered with SSC and when I gave birth a few years ago I got nothing. When SSC was in our town I enquired about it and was informed that Ovakuatjivi did not register us,” said one female employee who spoke on condition that she not be named for fear she could lose her job.
She further said that for the past two months her housing bills have not been paid and she struggles to feed her children.
“It’s hard to survive without being paid for months. This is not the first time we are not paid on time,” she said.
Security guards told New Era they have written letters to the Ministry of Labour with no intervention for years and in one such letter the employees say: “As we agreed we want our salary on 7th of each month. If there is something stolen from the Ministry of Health and Social Services then we understand, but nothing is lost or stolen.”
In the same letter the guards had also wanted clarity on some deductions.
One concerned security guard said he was simply living off lunch given at the hospital and that he also ate at friends’ places. Some of the employees borrow cash which they give back when they receive their monies.
“We survive on borrowing money. When one is paid you give back and simply again have to borrow as one is not paid for months so all the months you just live on borrowing,” another employee said.
When Ovakuatjivi Trading Enterprise CC, was contacted an employee who gave her name only as Vicky said the Ministry of Health and Social Services system had been off so certain payments could not be made and that Khorixas District Hospital was informed of it.
Vicky wanted to know who gave New Era permission to write the story without the relevant union’s input and if it was part of human rights law. However, Vicky denied that security guards work for more than 12 hours.
This is not the first time security guards of the company air their grievances in the media as they did so a few years ago as well. Employees called upon government to strip Ovakuatjivi Trading Enterprise CC of the tender and give it to another company that cares for its employees.