Salini to reimburse suspended workers

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Matheus Hamutenya

Keetmanshoop-Salini Namibia has agreed to pay all outstanding monies due to the 22 workers who have been on suspension since undertaking an unprotected strike in June last year.

The employees have been on suspension for their alleged involvement in the wildcat strike, which saw construction at the Neckartal Dam come to a complete halt, after workers locked the gates to the construction site.
After a long disciplinary process, the case has now come to a close and the company has agreed to pay all employees, irrespective of whether they were found guilty of misconduct or not.

About 13 of the employees were found guilty of unlawful industrial action and incitement to strike, but the company and the Metal Allied Namibian Workers Union (MANWU) reached an agreement that will see all workers get their pay-outs.

In the settlement agreement seen by New Era, the company agreed to pay the workers all monies owed to them as from April 20 to October 19 2017. This will include the remainder of the pro-rata allowance for 2016 and a further pro-rata allowance for 2017, a severance pay of one-and-a-half weeks, and annual leave payment.

The two parties further agreed that no meal allowance will be paid to the workers, as they were not on site during the period of suspension, while notice pay is also excluded, as the company has already started with retrenchments due to minimal work remaining on the project.

“Kindly be informed that this is the final offer from the company and in full and final settlement, the company is acting in good faith to amicably settle this protracted dispute, despite the guilty finding of some workers,” read the settlement agreement.

Workers through their union have also agreed to withdraw any pending cases relating to the strike, and MANWU general secretary Jonas Justina said the end of the disciplinary hearing and the agreement for payment to the workers is victory for the workers.

“The workers have won the case, we are currently at the stage of finalising the negotiations, and the workers will be paid all what is due to them,” she said. Salini is contracted to build the billion-dollar Neckartal dam near Keetmanshoop.

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