28 May 2019 18:30pm
WALVIS BAY, 28 MAY (NAMPA) - The Namibia Seamen and Allied Workers (NASAWU) on Tuesday condemned the recent dismissal of 86 employees from the Namibia Ports Authority (Namport).
The dismissed employees were found guilty of misconduct in line with Namports Disciplinary Policy after they reportedly took part in an illegal demonstration in 2018.
According to the union, the decision to dismiss these employees was unlawful and unconstitutional, as they reportedly carried out the demonstration during their lunch hour.
Speaking at a media conference on Tuesday, NASAWU President Paulus Hango demanded the immediate reinstatement of the employees without any conditions.
If Namports management allowed dismissing employees who participate in a peaceful demonstration during their lunch hour, as a Government parastatal, then it will set a bad example for other employers, Hango noted.
He added that the fact that employees are not allowed to join a union of their choice is a further violation of Article 21 of the Namibian Constitution, which includes the freedom of association.
It seems there is no freedom of association at Namport, the management of Namport decides which union must represent its workers and not the workers themselves, he further alleged, referring to the Namibia Transport and Allied Workers Union (NATAU), which has a bargaining agreement with Namport. The demonstration emanated from the fact that some employees opted to join the Mine Workers Union (MUN) instead of NATAU.
Meanwhile MUN, which also condemned the dismissal, has taken a decision to instruct its legal team to initiate an appeal on behalf of the affected employees.
In an interview with Nampa on Tuesday, MUN Western Regional Coordinator, George Ampweya, said the legal action is on the grounds that the demonstration was legal and was within the framework of the constitution.
Ampweya stressed that MUN will continue to stand its ground on the issue, until a fair decision is taken.
We are hoping that the legal process will take its course and that judiciary will listen to the employees and not allow employers to get away with actions such as those taken by Namport, he said.
Namport declined to comment on the matter, saying when the entity has reached a position to do so, they would engage the media.