By: Justicia Shipena
Employees of Hartlief factory in Windhoek have now entered the second week of strike.
The workers who downed their tools last month said they will continue to strike until demands are met.
Speaking on behalf of the employees, Ruben Nghifimule said they are prepared to be on strike until they are given a fair deal.
“We know it is hard times but then if they don’t give us any fair deal we can stay for a month or two and longer on strike as long as our demands are met.
“Our demands are genuine and we are unapologetic. We are going to stay here until they come with something else. If not, we stay put!”
Hartlief is a subsidiary of the O&L group since 2019.
Nghifimule added that strikes are hard but their demands need to be met.
“We don’t know until when we will be here, hence we are calling upon Namibians to show their support. Imagine this 3% on an average is like N$70, what can we do with N$70?” he questioned.
“How do you expect someone who is earning a basic salary of N$3 000 to get N$70? We are angry because the work we are putting in is not equaling our pay.”
He said no matter the damage of the strike, they will still stay put.
“Until this company come back to the table and listen to its employees. It’s about time they respect and take care of their employees,” said Nghifimule.
“We don’t know what the future holds but we will stay here until the management realise their mistakes.”
Nghifimule told The Villager that over 290 employees are currently on strike and nine employees are working.
“But they are not doing anything because this are packers only. They are not machine operators.”
Nghifimule called on the labour ministry to take their case serious.
This comes as the Namibia Food and Allied Workers Union (Nafawu) and O&L reached deadlock negations.
“The employees are suffering at the hands of this ministry,” he said. The employees are demanding for better working conditions and wages.
He further said it took the company nearly six months to come up with a solution.
“The case has been at the labour commission for long with negotiations and nothing was coming out. We then decided to vote for a strike”
Almost 290 people voted in favour of a strike and only nine people voted for no strike.
“This was supposed to happen a long time ago but they have been delaying. So last year 28 December we started with the striking,” said Nghifimule.
He said they are also demanding for the kitchen to be reopened.
Previously, Nafawu’s secretary general Jacob Penda had said the company was not willing to meet the workers’ pleas half way.
He said that some of employees have a housing allowance of N$1 750 and others of N$500.
Roux-Ché Locke, Ohlthaver & List group spokesperson told the media that Hartlief is offering a 3% salary increase.
However, the union and employees are demanding N$750 across the board, which is an average increase of 13%.
The strike continues in the capital.