NWRWU accused of labour law violation

06 Feb 2019 20:30pm
OSHAKATI, 06 FEB (NAMPA) – Former employee of the Namibia Wholesale and Retail Workers’ Union (NWRWU), Primus Josef is accusing the trade union of refusing to pay retrenchment packages to seven employees it laid off in April 2017.
Josef, who served as a regional organiser in northern Namibia since 2002, was retrenched along with other organisers - Olivia Heidie, Paulina Namupala, Petrus Amukwa, Chris Katjivive, John Mwanzi and Paulus Ipinge.
The seven employees lodged a dispute of unfair dismissal, unfair labour practice and unfair retrenchment with the Office of the Labour Commissioner and an arbitration award by agreement was reached at a conciliation meeting held in Windhoek on 11 May last year.
Josef said the two parties mutually agreed that the NWRWU, as the respondent, compensate the seven employees, as the applicants, a total amount of N.dollars 54 875.69 in four equal instalments as per the amount owed by the union to each employee.
The NWRWU owes Josef N.dollars 15 185.66, while Heidie is owed N.dollars 5 031.16, Namupala N.dollars 13 847.10, Amukwa N.dollars 8 204.40, Katjivive N.dollars 4 952.94, Mwanzi N.dollars 3 500.27 and N.dollars 4 154.16 for Ipinge.
Josef noted the dispute was supposed to be resolved upon payment of the above-mentioned amount in full between May and August last year, but the union has not yet started paying them.
“When are we going to be paid by the NWRWU secretary-general Victor Hamunyela and his executive committee since the organisation was supposed to pay us from May 2018 and the final instalment was due to be paid out in August as per the agreement?” Josef demanded to know.
He said the Labour Commissioner’s Office should deregister the NWRWU if it continues to dishonour the said agreement or force it to pay each of the affected employees N.dollars 10 000 as per the requirement of Section 32 of the Labour Act.
“The property of the organisation can be put on auction to generate money for our retrenchment package, if an excuse that it has no money is genuine,” Josef argued, adding that he will continue making noise on the matter until his retrenchment money is paid out.
Hamunyela, in a telephonic interview with Nampa on Wednesday, confirmed the information provided by the complainants.
“We are not disrespecting the law, but when you have no money, you always find yourself in such a predicament,” replied Hamunyela.
He promised that the NWRWU would pay the money, saying it is trying to get money from some of its sources “to be able to pay the seven former employees the outstanding retrenchment package as soon as possible”.