Gobabis municipality workers threaten to down tools

Hertta-Maria Amutenja

Gobabis Municipality workers through their labour union representative, Namibia Public Workers Union (NAPWU), have threatened to stop work unless management takes action on issues raised during a meeting last year November.

NAPWU, on behalf of the workers, penned a letter to the municipality’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Sophia Eises highlighting unfair labour practices and disciplinary hearing discrepancies within the municipality.

Union representative, Betuel Jamuine, in the letter, expressed dismay over the perceived lack of response to grievances voiced during a meeting with the workers, asserting that the situation has only worsened since.

“NAPWU has realised with great concern that matters raised in that meeting fell on deaf ears and the situation at the Municipality of Gobabis deteriorated from bad to worse as there are employees that have the leeway to do as they wish while other employees are subjected to unfair labour practices and unjust disciplinary hearings,” said Jamuine.

The letter further demands a comprehensive response within seven days or the workers will take industrial action.

“It is against this background that we demand responses to issues raised during that meeting within seven days of receipt of this letter or we will have no other option than to resort to industrial action by way of downing tools until such time that the CEO and councillors give their undivided attention to very serious matters raised in the said meeting,” cautioned Jamuine.

Key issues raised in the meeting include the loss of strategic position by the council, allegations of selective implementation of policies, administrative irregularities, and financial transparency concerns.

The letter also questions the handling of disciplinary matters and accuses certain council members of making unfounded public statements.

Member of the Gobabis municipality management committee, Isak de Beer, told Windhoek Observer that they are aware of the issues raised by the workers, acknowledging internal tensions within the council while also highlighting the pressing water crisis facing the municipality.

“I know about the letter and we have discussed it in the meeting with the council. This is all between two people out of the council and they are bringing the fight from outside to the CEO, and now they want to bring it into the council too. I don’t want to make comments on this,” de Beer said.

However, he refused to provide further details, citing potential repercussions.

“I am now at a stage where I cannot open up. Otherwise, they would start boycotting me. We in the council are facing serious problems with it now,” he said.

In response to inquiries, CEO Eises indicated that she would address the concerns and give feedback to this publication, she however did not do so at the time of going to print.

Jamuine confirmed authorship of the letter but declined to elaborate further.

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