Security guards to march

Employers won''t comply with exorbitant demands

02 November 2016 | Labour

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An estimated 3 000 security guards are taking to the streets in Windhoek tomorrow as part of a peaceful demonstration for better wages.

The countrywide hour-long march scheduled to start at 09:00, will be joined by thousands of security guards from at least 13 towns, the unions representing the workers said at a media briefing yesterday. The demonstration will conclude with the handover of a petition at the Office of the Labour Commissioner.

“There are a lot of reasons that they are marching. Mainly though, it is because they want to see change. And they want to put pressure on the employers and let them know they are serious,” John Kwedhi, General-Secretary of the Namibia Transport and Allied Workers Union (NATAU), told Namibian Sun yesterday.

At a press conference yesterday, the three unions representing the 17 000 security guards across the country in the ongoing minimum wage negotiations, said they wanted to make it clear that the march was a peaceful demonstration and “not a strike as perceived by some employers”.

Last month, the union referred the dispute of interest to the Office of the Labour Commissioner and the date for conciliation has been set for 19 November, which has been confirmed by Kwedhi. The unions criticised security guard employers, whom they allege have “decided to unilaterally increase the wages of the security guards,” before negotiations proceeded at the Office of the Labour Commissioner.

“I would once again like to stress that the employers in the security companies can do whatever they want, but as long as the increments do not meet the worker''s demands we will not stop at anything to fight for decent working conditions for security officers and security guards,” Kwedhi said.

He warned that none of the unions representing the interests of security guards will “sit back and allow the current exploitation in the security sector” to continue.

Security guards in Walvis Bay, Swakopmund, Oshakati, Tsumeb, Rundu, Lüderitz, Katima Mulilo, Otjiwarongo, Gobabis, Grootfontein, Okahandja and Keetmanshoop are slated to conduct the peaceful demonstration in their towns.

The unions are demanding a 71% increase in wages, which the Security Association of Namibia (SAN) has countered with a 25% raise in return. The current entry-level wage is N$6.75 per hour, with the unions demanding N$12.50 per hour across the board at entry level while SAN countered with an entry wage of N$7.50 per hour and N$8.75 per hour for employees with a year or longer service. SAN members last week said they are committed to better wages in the industry and were willing to negotiate, but would not comply with “exorbitant” demands.

The unions representing the security guards include Namibia Security Guards and Watchman Union (NASGWU), Namibian Independent Security Union (NISU), NATAU, with support from the Trade Union Congress of Namibia (Tucna).



JANA-MARI SMITH

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