Forced leave to cut guards’ salaries

11 June 2021 | Labour

Kenya Kambowe


Rundu security companies have been accused of forcing employees to go on leave for up to 10 days a month to cut costs on wages.

It is also alleged that some women have had to offer sex in exchange for a job, while those demanding better pay are given an ultimatum of either accepting what the employer offers or leaving the job.

This list of challenges faced by security guards was made public during a wage commission hearing on the minimum wage in Rundu yesterday, where workers complained about exploitation by bosses whose objective is apparently to maximise on profit.

The commission, chaired by Marius Kudumo, is tasked to investigate all relevant industries and make recommendations to the labour minister on a proposed national minimum wage, which will apply to all employees except those exempted by a wage order.

Fined for a pee break

The security guards, with their union representatives, painted a horrendous picture of how those stationed at sites without ablution facilities can be fined for leaving their station when nature calls.

“A challenge we are facing in the security industry is too much off days. Imagine you are renting and you have a family to take care of, now they are giving you 10 days off and they are going to pay you N$2 400 only,” a frustrated guard told the commission.

“The salaries of supervisors are adjusted any time, but that of the guard who is deployed somewhere gets peanuts.

“Some of the companies are having tenders from the government but they are not paying us the minimum wage. The government must take this thing of minimum wage seriously,” he added.

According to the Namibia Independent Security Union’s (NISU) deputy secretary-general Benedictus Rumapa, they propose an hourly minimum rate of N$20 as opposed to the existing N$8.75 or N$10 per hour, while those who have worked for more than five years should get a N$25 per hour rate.

He further proposed that security guards have benefits such as housing and bush allowance.

Clients set the price

Meanwhile, a security company boss explained that the reason why some security companies pay employees below the minimum wage is because of clients seeking to work with those offering cheap labour.

He argued that some security companies are forced to lower their rates in order to get the job, which subsequently means it becomes challenging to pay the minimum wage.

He further called upon government to take look into the affairs of security companies securing government tenders yet their employees are either paid below the minimum wage or they simply don’t receive salaries for several months.

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