TransNamib’s ‘regime of fear’

27 September 2021 | Local News

JEMIMA BEUKES



WINDHOEK

The Namibia Transport and Allied Workers Union (Natau) has accused TransNamib leadership of pushing a regime of fear and demanded that the management be suspended and investigated for maladministration, while the board takes the wheel at the parastatal.

During a press briefing on Friday, Natau president William Claassen said this has led to the loss of lives of staff in train accidents while unfair labour practices and disciplinary action have become the order of the day, for which tax payers must fork out money for legal fees.

“Harassment, victimisation and bullying of shop stewards are daily occurrences at TransNamib. They are targeted by virtue of their membership and affiliation to the union and others are threatened by management not to join the union,” he said.

The union claimed to have heard first through the media of the planned retrenchment of 340 TransNamib employees and accused the rail operator of having no regard for the union and recognition agreement in place.

“Retrenchment is only the beginning. We know that the ultimate goal is to break up TransNamib into parts and create private entities. Natau has been fighting these premeditated agendas for the past decades, initiated by TransNamib cabal like Johny Smith, which is threatening job security of TransNamib employees, families and their livelihood.”

On the brink

Claasen further claimed that the parastatal is on the brink of failure because of a lack of a succession plan, which has seen retired staff returning on contract basis while expatriates on contract get the benefits of permanent employment, which is denied to Namibian contract workers.

TransNamib CEO Johny Smith announced last week the company plans to retrench 340 of its 1 309 employees within the coming weeks, targeting those nearing retirement and in its non-core business units.

Smith said a statement will be issued today to respond to these allegations.

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