Eba Kandovazu

Employees at Nak Trading have resorted to Affirmative Repositioning (AR) to air their grievances.

Yesterday, the group, consisting of AR activists and employees staged a protest at the premises, where they handed over a memorandum of demands. The employees allege that they have been subjected to labour exploitation tantamount to modern day slavery working hard labour for long hours for low wages and no benefits. Women at the company claim that they are forced to offload heavy bags of 50 kg for long hours, which they say have resulted in some of them experiencing premature births. According to them, they have been refused maternity leaves in some instances.

“The employees are subjected to constant and continuous racist attacks from the management and they are often subjected to insults on the basis of their skin colour by White and Indian managers. Employees are also physically attacked by management and suffer physical assaults from the managers and supervisors, causing them injuries and trauma from these abuses,” the employees claim.

According to their petition, the working environment at the factory is unconducive and dangerous for them to operate in, as there are no windows for ventilation too. They also allege that they are not provided with Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), resulting in them getting sick. The employees also claim they have been restricted from joining trade unions.

The group yesterday demanded that Nak Trading terminates its contract with a labour hire company owned by Tsumeb Town Council councilor, Gottlieb Ndjendjela, who last month suffered the same fate with Choppies Supermarkets. That contract was terminated after the AR, together with the employees complained that Ndjendjela takes N$1800 of the total N$2600 paid to him by Choppies, leaving employees with a salary of N$750 only, amongst other claims.

Ndjendjela says he and Nak management were advised by their lawyers Weder, Kauta and Hoveka inc not to comment until the 29 October deadline, set up by the employees, arrives. One Andre (Said one Andre because his surname isn’t known to me)from Nak Trading also shared the same sentiment, when contacted for comment. “We are consulting our lawyers at the moment. I cannot discuss the issue further,” he says.

The employees also demand new contracts directly by Nak Trading and not through a labour hire company. They also demand that “racist managers be deported and the renovation of the factory, amongst other demands.