//Kharas employers difficult with employees: Union

03 Mar 2016 15:30pm
By Patience Smith
SEEHEIM, 03 MAR (NAMPA) - The owner of Seeheim Hotel and a cleaner at the establishment Wednesday laid charges of assault against each other at the Keetmanshoop Police Station but later settled the dispute over a shirt out of court.
By Wednesday evening, both parties - owner Elvidge Kloppers and cleaner Monica Berendt - had paid admission of guilt fines of N.dollars 300 each to drop the charges.
This was revealed by Namibia Food and Allied Workers Union (Nafau) branch organiser Sesilia Endjala, who had intervened in the matter on behalf of the hotel cleaner.
On Thursday morning, Endjala was trying to convince Kloppers to pay N.dollars 903 as settlement to Berendt after both parties agreed to terminate her employment at the hotel located about 50 kilometres outside Keetmanshoop.
The settlement includes one week’s pay and payout of Berendt’s leave days after having worked at the hotel for eight months.
Kloppers was countering that a shirt Berendt tore cost N.dollars 450, which he wanted to deduct from her payment.
He also claimed that Berendt broke the leg of his beloved parrot that he apparently bought for N.dollars 10 000.
During a visit by Nampa to Seeheim on Wednesday, police were questioning both parties who were counter-accusing each other.
Berendt claimed she stepped on the parrot after Kloppers threw it at her.
“What did my poor parrot do to her?” Kloppers complained.
In a he said-she said saga, Kloppers told this news agency Berendt head-butted him, pointing out the scars on his mouth.
Berendt said Kloppers slapped, scratched and kicked her.
The fight allegedly started after Kloppers deducted N.dollars 200 from Berendt’s N.dollars 1 000 salary at the end of February.
He claimed the money was not part of her salary, but a special favour after she told him of her financial struggles.
Kloppers said he decided not to give her the money this past month, “because she had a terrible attitude” and was acting inappropriately as a staff member.
He accused the media, the union and the police of racism against him as a “white man” and of wanting to tarnish his tourist establishment.
In a sit-down with Nampa on Thursday, unionist Endjala lamented the attitude of employers in the //Kharas Region.
“Generally speaking, they are very difficult. They don’t want their workers to belong to unions. We are supposed to work together in adhering to the labour laws of the country, but they are usually uncooperative.
“They do not want to be advised; they say the companies belong to them and they will operate it in a manner they see fit,” she said.
Endjala said there are many cases of gross abuse by employers in the region, and warned the unions would fight to expose and deal with every single one of them.
She said even minor issues the union tries to address with company owners are met with resistance, anger and harsh retaliation.
“They try to be difficult about every single thing,” she stated.