Unions at loggerheads over security guards’ membership

04 Mar 2014 18:50pm
WINDHOEK, 04 MAR (NAMPA) - The Namibia Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Natau) says it has the right to represent security guards and is not violating any laws.
Natau General Secretary, John Kwedhi said during a media conference on Tuesday the union is not in violation of the Labour Act as claimed by the Namibia Security Guards and Watchmen’s Union (NASGWU).
He said Natau is an affiliate of the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) and there are many industrial unions affiliated to it.
“The security industry was incorporated under the scope of Natau to organise and represent it under the auspices of NUNW since 1993. Natau confronted the owners of companies to unionise the workers and 95 per cent of the employers were former army, police and Koevoet officials, who were notoriously known to everyone in this country. No one attempted to confront the industry because of its nature at that time, but we braved ourself with determination,” he stressed.
Kwedhi was responding to claims made by NASGWU Secretary General David Frans, who at a media conference last month challenged Natau for “illegally” representing security personnel on the Namibia Security Labour Forum (NSLF). However, Kwedhi stated that NSLF was established in 2004 and a memorandum of understanding signed there included only Natau and the Security Association of Namibia (SAN).
NASGWU said Natau should not be allowed to participate in the NSLF on the minimum wage increase of 2014, allegedly since the union does not represent the interests of the security employees, and this is apparently evident through poor service delivery all these years, Frans said. Security guards are demanding a salary of not less than N.dollars 6 000.
Frans said the Labour Commissioner may alternatively afford the employees an opportunity of a referendum through ballot voting on their rightful representative union of their choice. If not, NASGWU will take the matter to court, he said.
Kwedhi responded that Natau will be more than ready to go to court.
“Natau will be more than ready to meet him (Frans) in court. To our members and all security guards out there, rest assured that Natau will deliver on its mandate which you have given and continue to fight for the improvement of your working conditions,” he added.