Keetmanshoop-The Namibian Farm Workers Union (NAFWU) is seeking help from the Master of the High Court in an effort get severance pay due to Komsberg grape workers paid out to them.
The troubled Komsberg Farm has been under liquidation for some time and was recently taken over by Socotra Island Investments, but while the union ensured that all 47 permanent workers retained their jobs, the workers are yet to receive their severance packages.
An agreement was previously reached that all Komsberg Farm workers would be re-employed by Socotra Island Investments once grape farming activities resume, but it has now been almost a year and the workers are yet to get their severance pay.
NAFWU general secretary Rocco Nguvauva told New Era this has left the union with no other option, but to approach the Master of the High Court to intervene, as the union wants closure to the case.
He said the case has been dragging on since January, without any positive solution in sight and that he has attempted all avenues to get the liquidator, Alwyn van Straten, to pay what is due to the workers, but his efforts have been in vain.
He said the workers were to be paid severance for the years worked, as well as their leave days, but so far only the leave days have been paid.
“We have tried the best we can to resolve this issue and for the workers to be paid what is due to them, but without success so far. That is why we are left with no choice but to seek help from the Master of the High Court,” he said.
He said NAFWU had scheduled a meeting with officials of the Master of the High Court for yesterday, so that these officials can advise on the possible way forward and to fast track the payment of the workers, without further delay.
Nguvauva further said the hold-up in the payment was largely due to the liquidator, who he claimed was not eager to resolve the issue by effecting payments to the workers, saying van Straten always claimed to be busy and has now stopped answering calls from the union.
He was however confident that the meeting with the officials at the Master of High Court can lead to a breakthrough in the stalemate and pave the way for an agreement, so that the workers can finally be paid.
“The plan is to get a lawyer so that we can resolve this issue even in court, but we have a meeting today and I was told that the liquidator might also be called in to be advised on how we can move forward in the interest of the workers,” he said.
Attempts to obtain comment from van Straten proved futile, as he indicated thorough short text message service that he was unable to speak.
Komsberg grape farm is located on the banks of the Orange River.