Unpaid Sikondo workers down tools
05 May 2020 | Local News
Employees at government’s Sikondo irrigation project in the Kavango West Region have downed their tools due to unpaid wages.
Thirty-eight disgruntled workers, who had been harvesting tomatoes, last Thursday said they will only return to work once money owed to them is paid into their accounts.
The employees claim they have not seen a cent for March and April’s work.
The situation has resulted in them being unable to cater for the needs of their families, they said.
They workers said the last time they got paid was in March, salaries meant to be paid at the end of February.
“We will be coming to work and marking in the register that we are present, but we will not touch anything on this farm until the two months’ [salaries] have been paid,” Andreas Semete, the group spokesperson, said.
The project is managed by the Agricultural Business Development Agency (Agribusdev), which over recent months has been in the media mostly pertaining to cash flow problems and its inability to make financial commitments to stakeholders.
Semete, who also serves as the chairperson of the project’s management committee, said the workers are fed up with the non-payment of wages.
“We are going hungry. We also do not get our salaries on the 25th of each month as it should be, we normally get paid in the middle of the following month, which results in bank charges absorbing our money when it gets paid. Our policies have also collapsed because of the situation,” he said.
When contacted for comment, Agribusdev managing director Petrus Uugwanga said head office has intervened in the matter.
He added that a payment was made last week and another is due to be made this week.