Boss unapologetic about swearing at workers

30 January 2018 | Labour

Workers at a local signage shop have accused their boss of verbally abusing them and using racial slurs to insult them.

The workers at Independence Signs claim the owner of the shop, Ludwig Mostert, constantly curse at them while on duty. They also allege that they are threatened with dismissal all the time.

In one of the recordings heard by Namibian Sun, Mostert is heard in the background yelling and using abusive language with racial undertones against the workers. According to the recording, Mostert cursed one of his workers who had used the shower as a toilet and compared him to an animal.

“Employees live in fear as they are threatened with dismissal all the time and unlawful deductions in contravention of the labour law are rife at this company,” the workers who prefer anonymity for fear of reprisal, allege.

“Recently he instructed staff that he will deduct a total of N$10 from each employee that he will keep in his account to cover any damages and that those that do not agree can go to hell.”

The workers also complained of poor labour relations, which include allegedly getting a subsistence and travel (S&T) allowance of N$50 per day whenever they are deployed to sites.

“Employees have fainted from hunger and are forced to sleep at the sites often without any water or electricity or in the rain or underneath vehicles,” they said.

Contacted for comment, Mostert admitted to swearing at “misbehaving” workers, saying he will not apologise. He also denied allegations labelling him as a racist. He justifies his cursing, saying he does not swear at workers to insult them but rather at the things they do.



“They sabotaged me. And if I am such a pig why don't they report me to the labour ministry or the police? If they have recorded me then they must be able to open a case, why don't they do it?” he asked.



Mostert denied paying the N$50 daily travel allowance but stated that he has changed the way he pays it out because they abuse it or leave it with their families for food and complain with him that they are hungry.



According to Mostert three people, which he suspect of having contacted the media have stayed away from work after abusing his property and stealing from him.



“One of them did not return one full toolbox and a cellphone. They even rented out my truck to a client who bought them alcohol which they consumed while on duty. Who must not lose his mind when these things are done? And of course I would swear because that is how I speak,” he said.



He is also unapologetic over workers sleeping next to their cars, saying sometimes they are in rural areas where they have no choice.



“I just returned from a site visit and I slept in the car because I was too lazy to pitch the tent. I used a bucket to wash myself. What do they want? Five-star hotels in the bush?” he asked.

JEMIMA BEUKES

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