TAAG Angolan Airlines has been accused by the Namibia Transport and Allied Workers Union (NATAU) of discriminating against local workers by preferring to increase salaries for Angolan staff and holding parties for those in South Africa.
This is contained in a letter by NATAU’s regional organiser, Erenfried Katjipuka, dated 9 September 2022, to TAAG Angolan Airlines’ chief executive officer, Edwardo Fairen.
The Angolan national airlines, which has been plying the Windhoek-Luanda route, retrenched all of its Namibian workers on 31 August.
However, the workers have now complained that the company taxed them on their ex-gratia payments contrary to standard procedure.
“In 2020, Luanda got increases together with back pay, which Namibia did not get. During the Covid-19 in 2021, all the workers’ benefits or allowances were cut while the station manager was receiving hers in full.”
“It is worth noting that during the same exercise of retrenchment, your office took a delegation of negotiators to South Africa. It is further sad to mention that workers in South Africa got better benefits, including gifts and a party hosted for them, while in Namibia, we have to struggle for workers even to be paid on time,” said Katjipuka.
He also said that, as per an agreement, workers were supposed to receive all payments on 31 August 2022 before the end of business day, but the airline had to be dragged to make this happen.
Katjipuka accused the manager of abandoning the workers on their last day and that she went home without any explanations as to what the way forward would be.
This happened while, according to Katjipuka, “she knew it was the exit day of the workers, and they expected to receive their salaries, certificates of service, payslips and so on.”
“Your letter or statement was just a mere justification of how Namibian employees were unfairly treated, and that angered employees to show the world on social media how some TAAG stations globally were inferior to others.”
“From the union’s perspective, we expected humble and appreciative treatment from the head office as some of these workers had more than 30 years of service in the TAAG, specifically at the Namibian station.”
“We are still battling with the issue of tax as the tax directives are indicating that the workers were not supposed to be taxed, but they have been taxed on the allowance and the ex-gratia. How do you tax a token of appreciation?” queries Katjipuka.
He said the workers are now demanding for a refund on their deductions.
TAAG Angolan Airlines CEO was not immediately available for comment by the time of publication.
The airline, at some point, had to cut its route due to Covid-19, but later resumed after the pandemic situation improved, an event that received the elation of the Namibia Airports Company.