Canyon Hotel workers cry foul

07 Mar 2016 18:30pm
By Patience Smith
KEETMANSHOOP, 07 MAR (NAMPA) – Contrary to reports, the Canyon Hotel in Keetmanshoop has not been put into liquidation as was claimed by its owner Brian Roos, the just-fired interim manager of the hotel, Philip Brand alleged on Monday.
On the same day, Brand, who was appointed as hotel manager in January, received an email from Roos informing him that his three-month-probation period was unsuccessful and that he should vacate company lodgings on the hotel premises within seven days.
Brand claimed that Roos concocted the liquidation claims as a way of getting rid of 19 employees at the tourist establishment.
“There is no liquidation, there is no bankruptcy. They wanted to get rid of the workers without having to pay them severance monies for the years worked,” he alleged.
Seven of the dismissed 19 workers have in the meantime been rehired.
All personnel were informed in January that the Canyon Hotel was bankrupt, put into liquidation and that all staff had to re-apply for their positions under a new company trading as Canyon Hospitality.
The new company is owned by Maria Roos, spouse of Brian Roos, workers were informed.
“We were told we had nothing to fear and that no one would lose their job. We were told that the applications were only basic procedures as we would now work for a new company,” former bar lady Ciella Kapia told Nampa.
On 07 February 2016, the fired workers were informed that their services were no longer required.
Namibia Food and Allied Workers Union (Nafau) branch organiser Sesilia Endjala said the workers were duped and were now left hanging with no official retrenchment letters or service payouts to that effect.
On Monday, the 11 workers received their final salary payments for the month of February from the new company.
According to Endjala, the “new” company has claimed it has nothing to do with money owed to the workers while employed by the former company.
Brand told Nampa that during his months of service, he dealt with Brian Roos and not his wife, Maria.
Some of the personnel still employed at the hotel told this agency they have not received an employment contract and were also not paid out for their years of service with Canyon Hotel.
They were apparently also not given job descriptions and informed that all were classified as general workers.
“Our manager told us it means that even if you are a receptionist, you can also be tasked to clean the rooms, wash the dishes or water the garden,” a worker said.
When approached, administration manager Monnet van Zyl said she would not be drawn into giving any comment.
Roos, a businessman based in Windhoek, was said to be in meetings on Monday and thus could not respond.
Endjala called on Government to intervene in the matter to put an end to the abuse of workers at the hands of unscrupulous employers in the country.
“These people have children to feed and bills to pay. Their creditors are not concerned about their plight. They lost their jobs summarily in the blink of an eye.”
All dismissed workers have been employed at the hotel for more than 10 years.