By: Kelvin Chiringa
Unfazed by the threat of a potentially crippling strike, Walvis Bay Salt Refiners has now set the 12th of November 2021 as the day it will retrench a total of 25 employees.
These are ranging from drivers to those that work at the bag and loading plant.
The coastal company wanted to issue the 25 with termination letters on the 1st of November 2021.
However, a letter by company Human Resource Officer Brumilda Britz dated November the 2nd 2021 says that the Branch Executive Committee (BEC) requested for a postponement of the retrenchment date.
“The BEC requested for a postponement of the termination date of the affected employees, and indicated that if agreed to by the employer, that it is understood that this is done only as a gesture of good faith by the employer, and in no way reflects a change in the employers’ position,” she said.
Britz added that the company agreed to postpone the termination date of the 25 identified affected employees to the 12th of November 2021.
She said this meant allowing them to continue with their respective normal duties until the set deadline.
“The employer reiterates that that this should not be regarded as an agreement by the employer, to an extension of the time periods referred to in sections 34(5) & (6),” she said.
But the union wants the retrenchment to stop and has accused the company of selectively reading and misinterpretation of the law.
“First and foremost, the union takes serious exception to your intentional and malafide misinterpretation of Section 34 (5) & (6), (a), (b) of the Act in that clearly you have elected to read it in isolation to the entire provision under the said Section(s). It remains our conviction that in the absence of an outcome from the conciliation to the dispute already referred the envisaged dismissal cannot take effect,” said the union.
MUN’s western regional organizer, George Ampweya, said dismissal of the 25 was not only a gross violation of Section 34 (6) (b) but that it constituted an unfair dismissal which the union vehemently intends to contest.
He has asked Walvis Bay Salt Refiners to withdraw its notice of termination and demanded a response within 24 hours.
“It is therefore our instructions that you withdraw the aforementioned notice and all intentions to terminate the employment of the affected employees until such time that the set processes are completely exhausted, Failure to which, we hold further instructed to seek appropriate legal redress of which cost will be borne by you. We anticipate your response within 24 hours of receipt of this letter, in the absence of which our office will assume that the above demand surpa in point 5 has not been acceded to.