Employees accuse Namdock of violating their working conditions

Niël Terblanché

Employees of Namibia’s premier provider of marine engineering solutions, Namdock downed tools on Monday accusing the top management of the company, partly owned by the Namibian Ports Authority, of changing their working conditions without prior notice.

The employees staged a protest in front of the company entrance on Monday morning demanding answers from management.

One of the employees, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of being victimised, said management cancelled their tea break without consulting them nor their labour union, Metal and Allied Namibia Workers Union (MANWU).

“The company took away our tea time without even consulting with our bargaining unit. The new working conditions were simply implemented without any of us being informed about the changes,” the worker said.

The employee claims that they simply sought an audience with the company chief executive officer Albertus Kariko, about the changes in their working conditions but to no avail.

According to the employee, Kariko is known for his aversion to engaging workers’ unions and that they felt ignored.

“That is why we went over to speak to our boss,” he said.

The union informed the workers that it was set to have a meeting with the CEO and to iron out issues such as the cancellation of tea time, job grading, strategies surrounding fixed-term contracts, housing projects, alcohol abuse and the Recognised Agreement.

However, Namdock accused the employees of initiating unlawful industrial action, stating that their action was not following labour law.

“The action was not in accordance with the provisions of the Labour Act 11 of 2007, prompting the company to issue a formal media statement,” Namdock said in its statement.

The company stressed that no prior notice about the protest action was given to management by the union, violating the established procedures for industrial action as outlined in the Recognition Agreement and the Labour Act.

The management expressed concern over union leadership’s public statements, which are reportedly in contradiction with Section 23 of the Recognition Agreement which requires factual and respectful communication.

“In alignment with the company’s commitment to transparent communication, management has taken steps to analyse the situation and is actively working to resolve any issues to prevent further operational disruptions,” the company said.

It also gave notice to the workers and the public that a presence of members of the Namibian Police has been established on-site to maintain order until the dispute is resolved.

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