ONGWEDIVA – While the general secretary of the Namibian Workers Union (NAPWU) Peter Nevonga was rallying behind a national strike to demand better salaries for employees of the water utility NamWater, his own employees at Super Foods, a grocery shop at Ondangwa, were in their third consecutive month without salaries.
The salaries from June to August are allegedly still outstanding.
Prior to not receiving salaries, employees claim they have been receiving delayed salaries with pay-outs in most instances only done a few days before the next pay day.
To add salt to injury, management have allegedly resolved to close the shop today, however, employees remain in limbo about their outstanding salaries and retrenchment packages.
“We were informed to show up at work on Monday, but we would not enter the shop as they would be closing for good. We were not engaged about anything, we were only told that a meeting will be held in the open space outside the shop,” remarked one employee.
The employees however questioned how a sensitive subject of this magnitude could be possibly discussed in the open.
When contacted for comment, Nevonga dismissed claims that the shop was to close, saying that the company is going under a transformation period which he hopes will be completed soon.
Nevonga admitted that employees have not received salaries for two months and not three months, but said the company is arranging for such payments to be done soon.
The unionist further said the employees are well informed of the transformation and as such have ventured into an agreement to stay onto the job while the transition is being finalised despite the fact that the company does not have the means to honour salaries.
According to Nevonga, some employees feared that the company would not call them to work once the transformation was done, resulting in them taking a decision to stay at the shop.
Meanwhile, employees charged that they have suffered financial losses and as a result have been struggling to provide for their families.
Some employees have subsequently been kicked out from their rented accommodation after failing to make payments during the previous months.
“The manner in which this matter is being handled is disheartening, some of us have been kicked out of our rooms with our things locked up in those apartments because we have not honoured our rent,” another employee charged further.
NAPWU members at NamWater under the leadership of Nevonga held a peaceful demonstration country wide during lunch to petition their Chief Executive Officer Vaino Shivute and regional managers over unjust labour practices and lack of salary increment during the current financial year.