Security guards threaten Christmas strike

Security guards staged countrywide protests yesterday in a demand for better pay and working conditions.

04 November 2016 | Labour

Security guards yesterday threatened to spoil the Christmas holidays of wealthy security company customers by calling a countrywide strike if their demands are not met.

John Kwedhi, general secretary of Namibia Transport and Allied Workers Union (Natau), told hundreds of security guards at a peaceful demonstration in Windhoek that they “protect the life, the property and indeed the economy of the country”.

He warned security company owners that “if they don''t want their clients'' Christmas holiday to be spoiled, they must pay us. If they fail to pay us, then they must know their clients can cancel those hotels in Swakopmund, Cape Town and Dubai and wherever else they go.”

He said the unions would not strike before 29 November, the day set aside by the labour commissioner for conciliation talks between the unions and the Security Association of Namibia (SAN) for improved wages.



More money for pets

However, should the outcome of those talks not be in line with the union''s demands, Kwedhi said a strike would be called.

“For you to strike will be a disaster for them,” he told guards.

Namibia Independent Security Union (Nisu) general secretary Simon Kandondo told the demonstrators that security company owners and customers spend more food on their pets than on their employees.

“The money they spend is so much, but they fail to pay you guys. They get huge salaries, but they sit in the office doing paperwork, while you are the one sitting on the site where the money is coming from.”

At least 1 000 security guards took to the streets in Windhoek and several towns as part of the peaceful demonstration.

“We are here today to demand N$12.50 per hour minimum wage. We demand that they pay us more so that we can gain benefits, housing allowances, transport allowances and so that we can pay to educate our children,” a female security guard told Namibian Sun. She did not want to give her name.

Another female security guard claimed that some of the sites she has worked at did not provide toilet facilities and when toilets were available, money was deducted from her salary for the privilege.

The lack of toilets and water for guards on duty, in addition to substantial wage deductions for a variety of reasons, are common complaints.

“Then also, when they find you sleeping they charge you N$100. I work for N$7 per hour, but they fine you N$100.” She furthermore claimed that she had been charged bank fees of N$150 per month, even when paid in cash.





T Shikwambe, a female security guard working in Windhoek, said the issues she is frustrated about include “no pension or medical aid and we receive no double pay on Sundays. Some people don''t have access to a toilet or water when on duty. They don''t pay us according to the law.”

She said she was in agreement with many of her fellow workers that she would strike if not satisfied with the outcome of the conciliation.

Aaron Setunga said he receives no paid sick leave, but is required to hand in a doctor''s note regardless. He claimed that when security guards are asked to work overtime, they aren''t paid extra.

“We sometimes have to stand for an extra five or six hours, no pay. And they can force you to work overtime, and even then they don''t give you food or water.”

Some of the security guards at yesterday''s demonstration alleged they had been warned by their employers not to join in the demonstration.

“They threatened people, called us in and said we should not come here. We have no freedom of speech, and are not allowed to give our views.”

A petition handed to the labour commissioner highlighted grievances related to low wages, unclear and at times illegal working conditions, and pay deductions.

The petition listed numerous demands, including a request that labour inspectors conduct an immediate inspection of all registered security companies in order to find out “how and when they pay salaries and wages to security guards.”

Furthermore, the petition demands that the labour inspectors determine whether all security companies adhere to the provisions of the labour and social security laws.

In addition to Natau and NISU, the Namibia Security Guard Watchmen Union (NASGWU) was represented by its secretary-general, Andreas Hausiku, at yesterday''s event.

Similar News

 

Labour to ­fast-track gender in workplace

1 hour ago | Labour

Jo-Maré DuddyThe ministry of labour, industrial relations and employment creation, with the assistance of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), has embarked on a three-year programme...

Govt concerned about trade union members

1 month - 14 March 2018 | Labour

President Hage Geingob said he would like the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) to know that his administration is concerned about trade union members.In...

Union warns private schools

1 month - 23 February 2018 | Labour

JEMIMA BEUKES The Teachers Union of Namibia (TUN) intends to clamp down on fly-by-night private schools that allegedly exploit...

Rosh Pinah, MUN ink agreement

2 months ago - 05 February 2018 | Labour

Rosh Pinah Zinc Corporation of Namibia has entered into a labour agreement with the Mineworkers' Union of Namibia (MUN) for the next three years.The agreement...

SOS housemothers fed up

2 months ago - 02 February 2018 | Labour

Unhappy housemothers at SOS Children's Villages Namibia in Windhoek, Tsumeb and Ondangwa handed over a petition to their respective offices yesterday morning, detailing a litany...

Union to act against security companies

2 months ago - 02 February 2018 | Labour

The Trade Union Congress of Namibia (Tucna) has threatened to report, name and shame and possibly sue security companies who are still not compliant with...

Boss unapologetic about swearing at workers

2 months ago - 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...

MUN reflects on 2017 challenges

3 months ago - 10 January 2018 | Labour

The Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) was mainly challenged by retrenchments and several cases of labour unrest throughout last 2017, Paul Situmba, MUN's assistant secretary-general,...

Engineers want ministry to implement ruling

3 months ago - 28 December 2017 | Labour

The Namibian Society of Engineers (NASE) has written to the works PS, Willem Goeieman, to advise him to take note of a recent court ruling...

Rukoro gets N$3m severance

4 months ago - 15 December 2017 | Labour

Meatco is on the hunt for a new CEO after officially dropping all disciplinary charges against Vekuii Rukoro, who was suspended from the position earlier...

Latest News

Unam confers posthumous PhD

1 hour ago | Education

ILENI NANDJATOA University of Namibia lecturer who died last year was honoured with a posthumous doctor of philosophy (PhD) degree during the Unam northern campus’s...

NTTU commands all taxis to...

1 hour ago | Transport

JANA-MARI SMITH Namibia Transport and Taxi Union (NTTU) boss Werner Januarie has urged all Windhoek taxi drivers to join a mass taxi strike on Monday,...

Purpose-eating allocation for trade

1 hour ago | Economics

Ndama Nakashole - There are no funds allocated towards the government’s equipment aid scheme this year, whose aim is to provide production machinery and equipment...

Tsumeb protest disrupts court proceedings

1 hour ago | Justice

CATHERINE SASMANMore than 100 angry protesters at Tsumeb nearly brought the magistrate’s court’s proceedings to a standstill yesterday when they descended on the court demanding...

Nghiwete defiant

1 hour ago | Government

CATHERINE SASMAN The suspended CEO of the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF), Hilya Nghiwete, has demanded through her lawyer...

Africa briefs

1 hour ago | Economics

Mnangagwa says new investment law to open economyZimbabwe is working on a new investment law to open up the economy to foreign investors, President Emmerson...

Rape accused doctor gets N$15...

1 hour ago | Justice

A doctor accused of raping a 20-year-old woman in the Ongwediva area was yesterday granted bail of N$15 000 by the Oshakati Magistrate's Court. ...

Job portal fails

1 hour ago | Government

Only 20% of the 15 569 jobseekers who were registered on the Namibia Integrated Employment Information System (NIEIS) during the 2017/18 financial year found jobs.According...

Hanse-Himarwa on trial next month

1 hour ago | Justice

Education minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa will go on trial on corruption charges at the end of May.Hanse-Himarwa yesterday appeared before the Windhoek High Court, where she...

Load More