SAN distances itself from national security guards’ strike…claims the strike is illegal and organised by unknown union

Stefanus Nashama

The Security Association of Namibia (SAN) has distanced itself from the national strike which took place early this week at the Katutura Youth Complex in Windhoek.

The strike was organised by the Namibia Security Workers Union (NASWU), and led by its president, Michael Amushelelo.

Amushelelo and his union are demanding a minimum hourly pay rate of N$15 for guards from the currently gazetted minimum wage of N$8.75 per hour. ,

According to SAN’s national president, Dhiginina Uutaapama the strike earlier this week was illegal since it was organised by NASWU, an unregistered union, which he said is not recognised or protected by the law in the country.

“SAN distances itself from the national security strike organised by Mr. Amushelelo in the name of NASWU, which is not mandated to represent the workers,” he said.

Uutaapama was addressing the media on Thursday in Windhoek, to pronounce SAN’s position on the security strike.

He warned the employees not to participate in illegal strikes, stating that such actions not only raised security questions but also compromised the Labour Act Law in the country.

He added that negotiations concerning the increase in hourly rate for the workers are ongoing and SAN is committed to addressing the matter.

“We are with employees but we want to do it the right way. These are blue-collar workers that do not understand the Labour Law, and what they are doing is not protected by the government,” stressed Uutaapama.

Uutaapama admitted that there has been no status update on salary increases since 2017 but added that hosting an illegal strike is not a solution, but a violation of the Labour Act.

“Let’s do the right thing because if we become a banana republic, we won’t be governable. Let the entrusted body deal with the matter it has started,” he urged.

Uutaapama claimed the workers were misled to join an illegal strike. He urged them to respect the law, be self-disciplined and approach the office of the Labour Commission if they are treated unfairly.

“Employees should follow the correct channels. The Labour Act plays an important role in matters like this one,” he reiterated.

According to Uutaapama, the association is aware of some workers who lost their jobs by joining an illegal strike, adding that the association is trying to eliminate the loss due to illegal actions.

At the same time, he said that SAN is an association of security companies’ employees registered with the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation, and Namibia Security Association, a body recognised by the government to represent security employees.

Uutaapama, who according to his social media pages, is the owner and CEO of Dog Force Security Services CC (DFSS) revealed that SAN is composed of employees selected from different security companies representing the interest of workers.

Another SAN’s council member and owner of Crown Security, Hans Miljio, said there is a memorandum of understanding between the unions, and added that the association will not part with current negotiation strategies.

Miljio also mentioned that many security officers are illiterate and can be easily misled into joining illegal strikes.

“There are two sides to look at. Workers have the right to strike, however, there is also the side of violation of the Labour Act Law, which they do not understand. An illegal strike will not bring a solution, it will affect the operation of the companies and cause job losses,” he stressed.

He urged employees to approach the relevant authorities instead of joining illegal strikes.

In response, Amushelelo informed the Windhoek Observer that NASWU has been a registered union since 2005.

“If Uutaapama knows that NASWU is not a registered union, why is he not taking legal action against it?” he asked.

Amushelelo said Uutaapama has on many occasions, failed to pay the employees Of DFSS on time.

“His employees used to call me regarding the matter. He should start paying his employees on time and stop spreading propaganda. You cannot represent the interest of an association when you are a company owner that fails to pay employees,” he responded.

Amushelelo said he has a certificate that can prove that NASWU has been duly registered.

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