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Solid waste fixed-term workers give Windhoek ultimatum

More than 250 fixed-term Windhoek municipality solid waste workers have given their employer until 15 July 2020 to resolve the issue of their unrenewed contracts.

The workers marched to the municipality headquarters in Windhoek where they handed over a petition to the mayor Franscina Kahungu, who promised to look into the matter.

According to the petition, the workers said they have been on fixed-term contract since 2016 and are disgruntled with the way the City of Windhoek was handling their employment.

“We have been employed on this SWANLA type of contract and paid pathetic and starvation wages in plain and blatant violation of the Labour Amendment Act of 2012 sections 128A=128C which governs employment on contracts,” the petition said.

The workers further said that the City of Windhoek continues to offer them brutal contracts disregarding their constitutional fundamental freedoms and rights which are an arbitrary non-compliance with article 18 of the Constitution on administration justice.

“We are fully aware and so is the Council that cleaning of the City of Windhoek is a permanent job to be done and shall always be the responsibility of the City of Windhoek.

“That is a clear testimony that the need for permanent staff to clean the City as it continues to expand is justified and therefore pour demands for indefinite employment is legitimate,” the workers said in the petition.

Furthermore, the workers said they are disappointed by the unjustifiable delay of the tabling of their demands for a permanent employment review and the review of their remunerations.

The workers argued that they believe the management and councillors were doing this deliberately to create opportunities to benefit from outsourced services as a way of augmenting their already huge salaries and benefits.

President Hage Geingob, the workers said, gave them unwavering support in 2018  to have them fully employed but the municipality was delaying implementing the decision.

“Our plight is further worsened by the outbreak of Covid-19 as we continue to collect all sorts of waste generated by residents of the City of Windhoek risking contracting the virus in this process because we are also not supplied with sufficient personal protective equipment,” they said.

Below are the demands:

  • That their demands for permanent employment, a living wage and improved conditions of service be met unconditionally
  • that council convenes an urgent meeting to resolve their demands as crafted and submitted by the Namibia Public Workers Union
  • that the management committee be obligated to table their demands and proposals to the full council for its consideration and approval
  • that their demands for job security be delinked from unprocedural recruitment by management which the management committee issuing to delay our legitimate permanent employment and salary increment
  • that council firmly demands the management committee rescinds its last resolution to refer their demands back to the steering committee as a tactic to keep this matter under scrutiny
  • that council calls the management committee to order for undue delays of their legitimate demands to its advantage
  • that until this is done they shall not sign any short term contract for any period less than 5 years and
  • that they shall continue their public expression of unhappiness until this matter is resolved to their satisfaction.

Mayor Kahungu, who accepted the petition, said she would look into the matter. She also said urged the workers to continue working while their concerns were being attended to.

In an interview with Eagle FM, Kahungu said she was informed about the issue of the 600 workers.

Frans Paulus, who spoke on behalf of the workers, said they would camp at the municipality if their demands were not met by 15 July as stated in the petition.




Wonder Guchu

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