Keetmanshoop-Employees of Salini who have been on the company’s payroll, although on suspension since July last year, will not be getting their salaries from this month onwards.
The workers, who have been on suspension with pay for their part in last year’s illegal strike, were served with letters last month informing them that they will not be receiving their salaries from this month until the ongoing disciplinary hearings are concluded.
Some of the affected workers New Era spoke to confirmed receiving the letters. The workers were asked to sign the letters but they refused to do so as they say they do not understand how their salaries can be taken away while the hearings are still ongoing.
One of the workers who spoke to New Era anonymously in fear of being victimised indicated that all the remaining suspended workers, over 10 of them, received the letters on April 18 informing them that they will not be getting a penny of their salaries from this month onwards, until the hearings have been finalised.
He said that the workers were caught off guard and could not believe what the letters were saying, and that there was no clear reason stated in the letters as to why the salaries are being taken away.
“It is really bad – we have accounts that need to be paid. Some of the workers are originally not from here and they need to pay rent – now how will this be possible without our salaries?” he asked.
Metal and Allied Namibian Workers Union regional branch organiser Emerentia Riekert confirmed that the workers have received such letters, but she could not give more details as to why the company wants to take such action, with the hearings still ongoing.
“Yes we got the letters, but we really do not know why they want to do that, and we have written to them to enquire but up to now they are ignoring us,” she said.
Contacted for comment, the project manager Fabrizio Lazzarin was more willing to say goodbye to the reporter than answer the questions posed.
“No comment on this issue, okay! Thank you very much, bye,” he said telephonically.
Salini is contracted to build the N$2.4 billion Neckartal Dam near Keetmanshoop in the //Kharas Region.