06 Feb 2014 17:40pm
WINDHOEK, 06 FEB (NAMPA) Petrol jockeys are demanding at least N.dollars 4 600 per month and the establishment of a fuel labour forum over the next 14 days, or they will down tools.
About 30 fuming petrol attendants met at the Khomasdal Sports Stadium before proceeding to the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare offices in the same area to hand over a petition.
In the petition handed over to Labour Inspector in the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare Dr Felix Musukubili on Thursday, members of the Namibia Fuel and Allied Workers Union (Nafawu) pleaded for the formation of the Namibia Fuel Labour Forum (NFLF) by the line ministry, which will spearhead the implementation of minimum wages in the industry.
Employees are subjected to low wages, lack of health and safety measures at their work places, harassment, intimidation, and workers are denied representation by their employers, it stated.
Petrol station attendants are chronically exposed to petroleum derivatives through inhalation of petrol during vehicle refuelling.
The petition is based on research conducted in 2006 on the working conditions in the fuel industry and compliance with the Labour Act.
Nafawu said the findings and recommendations of the research were submitted to all role players, including the Labour Ministry, Labour Commissioner, Association of Service Station Owners (Asso), and the union to introduce a minimum wage in the fuel sector, but to no avail.
The union said setting up such a forum will not only be beneficial to the workers, but will promote national dialogue.
The petrol station workers carried placards which read: We demand N.dollars 4 600 for an eight-hour shift per month; No answer, no work; Better salaries for a better future; No work, no petrol; and We need housing, transport allowance and medical aid.
One petrol attendant, Linus Amwaama, who is employed since 1999 at a petrol station here, complained that he earns a meagre N.dollars 900 per month. With overtime, he could take home about N.dollars 2 200 per month.
A female petrol jockey said she earns a salary of N.dollas 1 000 per month, and receives only N.dollars 34 for two hours worked overtime per day.