Petrol attendants' strike enters third day

23 Jul 2014 15:00pm
WINDHOEK, 23 JUL (NAMPA) – Namibia Fuel and Allied Workers Union (NAFAWU) Secretary-General David Frans has expressed dismay over service station owners who allegedly ignore their workers’ demands for better salaries.
Speaking to Nampa on Wednesday, Frans also alleged that some service station owners have called their workers “prostitutes”.
“Union members have complained that their employers call them prostitutes, and that they can pay the workers whatever they feel like paying them.
This is an insult, and we will not tolerate that,” he charged.
Frans refused to name the employers who allegedly call their workers prostitutes, fearing that the workers would be victimised and intimidated.
The countrywide strike entered its third day today.
NAFAWU members on Monday declared a nationwide strike, following the cancellation of minimum wage negotiations.
Service station workers are demanding a wage increase from their current salary range of between N.dollars 250 and N.dollars 800 per month to a minimum of N.dollars 4 500. The negotiations, which were supposed to take place at the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare between the union and its members’ employers, was cancelled as the ministry could not be present to act as facilitator.
Frans said a meeting had been scheduled for Thursday at 14h00 between the union, the Association of Service Station Owners (ASSO) and the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Doreen Sioka to negotiate better working conditions for employees.
It will take place at the offices of the ministry.
If their demands are not met by Thursday afternoon, about 2 700 service station attendants are planning to camp in tents at the Labour Ministry, Frans said.
To show their solidarity with other workers, petrol attendants from the capital were set to go to Okahandja on Wednesday to join their colleagues, who are also on strike there.
“We will show our seriousness, and will camp at the ministry until our demands are met. We will not surrender,” Frans stated.
The owner of the Engen Hochland Service Station, Jors van Zyl told this news agency today that he has been affected by the strike as some of his workers did not turn up for work.
“If a worker is absent for three consecutive days, then he or she will be fired. We are just following the labour law of the country,” he added.
Workers have since last week been expressing dissatisfaction with the conduct of ASSO for its alleged deliberate refusal to negotiate in good faith with regards to better salaries for service station attendants countrywide.