Guards hit in the pocket following burglary

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Matheus Hamutenya

Keetmanshoop-Employees of African King Security are unhappy over a decision by their employer to deduct about a quarter of their salaries following a burglary at one of the sites they guard at Keetmanshoop.

The security guards New Era spoke to indicated three employees, who work at the Keetmanshoop Primary School hostel, did not get full salaries in February, as their boss decided without their consent to deduct N$1 000 from their wages as punishment for the burglary.

Pieter Jossop, 40, said that after the burglary on February 15, in which a computer, a camera and hairdryer were stolen, their salaries were slashed as punishment, but they were never informed nor consulted on the issue before their employer made the deductions.

Jossop says he does not understand the decision, adding that it can’t be that employees who were not on duty during the break-in are also punished with deductions.

He said the incident happened at about 11h00 and he was not on duty at the time as his shift was only to start at 15h00, adding that by the time he got to his work station the police were already called to the scene to investigate the burglary.

“This happened before our shift, but our boss decided to deduct N$1 000 from our salaries, even when we were not there when it happened,” he said.

Another employee Moses Heiseb, 48, said as a result of the deduction he only received N$1 900 as salary last month, from which he was unable to pay his bills.

However for Heiseb, the deduction is not the only work-related complaint he has. He told New Era that while all his colleagues have signed contracts, he is yet to be given one after working for four months now, adding that he is always told to wait when he enquires about the anomaly.

He also said the company does not pay its employees when they go on any leave, even when they are booked off on sick leave and provided a medical certificate. He said they are not paid for those days and that the company is also reluctant to pay for the full hours worked.

“I work for 17 hours, I go to work at 15h00 and knock off the next day at 08h00, but I’m only paid for 12 hours, I don’t understand why,” he said.

Simon Negumbo, who is the owner of the security firm, admitted having made the deductions but he explained he did so because none of the three employees who work at the school that was broken into was willing to take the blame as they all said they were not on duty at the time.

He said the incident has cost his company about N$21 000 for the damage and property stolen and thus someone has to take responsibility, but he said he would pay the workers as soon as the company’s internal investigation into the burglary has been finalised.

“Nobody is saying he was on duty, but that is no problem and as soon as we have finalised internal investigations and identified the person at fault, I will pay the money to them,” he said.

On allegations of workers not being paid for full hours worked, Negumbo said he is aware of the problem and that the labour office had contacted his office over the issue, but he explained the matter concerns the supervisor and the workers and that the company only pays workers as reflected by their signed time sheets.

“That is not my issue – the company pays only for those hours reflected on the time sheets which they themselves sign, and so they have to solve this matter with their supervisor,” he explained.

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