16 Jul 2013 12:10
WALVIS BAY, 16 JUL (NAMPA) - About 800 disgruntled employees of Hangana Seafood fishing company held a peaceful demonstration here on Tuesday to express their unhappiness at alleged deteriorating labour practices in the company.
Namibia Food and Allied Workers Union (Nafau) shop steward at Hangana, Natangwe Nenghwanya indicated in a petition handed over to the company?s Managing Director Herman Theron that amongst other things, a lot of unfair dismissals have occurred at Hangana of late, and this has led to disputes.
Nenghwanya explained in the petition that a case involving a supervisor was allegedly swept under the rug after he fought with some workers. Instead, workers were disciplined and faced dismissal if they were found to be guilty in the matter.
He also indicated that one of the values of the company is to ?grow? people, but a new supervisor from outside the company was appointed recently while there are 'more qualified workers' who could have filled the position who are already employed at Hangana.
?During previous years, supervisors were appointed internally, especially for production. What is so special this time around?? Nenghwanya wanted to know.
He also mentioned that it has come to the employees? attention that the company?s management ?does not respect? the shop stewards and Nafau official Lister Tawana.
The company allegedly wrote a letter to Nafau Secretary-General Kiros Sackaria, complaining about Tawana?s behaviour.
?The workers would like to inform you that Tawana is still our representative here and very qualified to speak on our behalf at all times. When he raises issues in our interest, he is termed bad,? he stated.
The workers are also not happy about the fact that Hangana allegedly wants to reduce their basic salaries by 50 per cent in times when there is no work for them to do.
An unhappy Nenghwanya noted that the employees? salaries ?are already low and they cannot afford basic life necessities with their current basic wages?.
?They want to bring back the contract labour system which was abolished 23 years ago where the no-work no-pay system was introduced to abuse and exploit Namibian workers,? he added.
The workers are now demanding that the supervisor position be advertised internally as they say there is sufficient human capital to fill the position. They also want disciplinary hearings to be conducted in the presence of a union official and want the union to review cases after appeals to avoid unnecessary disputes. Another demand is that the company should negotiate the matter of the 50 per cent reduction in salaries when there is no production due to technological and economic reasons.
Theron indicated that they will provide the media with responses to the allegations in due course as they were only informed about the demonstration on Tuesday morning.