Labour Unrest at NWR’s Halali

Labour relations at the national tourism company continue to be problematic with recent disputes reaching State House.

Workers at the Namibia Wildlife Resorts’ Halali camp in Etosha have written to the company’s board and management, demanding that the Halali camp manager, Japhet Shikesho, should be removed.

The letter dated 23 February 2014 was accompanied by 40 signatures said to be of unhappy employees stationed at Halali.

NWR acting managing director Zelna Hengari confirmed receipt of the letter but said she was not aware of a letter sent to State House.

She explained that the problem with NWR staff members was that they bypassed established structures.

“Such a letter will then take a while to come from State House to the line ministry and back to us to deal with,” she said.

Hengari added that bypassing structures such as unions and management affects the company’s ability to investigate and solve problems.

Sources at the company accused the management of failing to act on the workers’ concerns, opting for “intimidation tactics”.

A source said five employees seen as the instigators were transferred from Halali to other NWR camps last week.

Hengari, however, said the transfer of employees had nothing to do with the letter.

“We transfer employees routinely depending on exigencies of a particular situation and the strategic needs of the company,” she said.

In the letter, Shikesho is accused of abusing his power and position to personally benefit from the company’s resources.

It is alleged that he filled his private car with company fuel and did not pay for it does not respect government national parks regulations. In December 2012, he apparently bought goods worth N$10 000 using NWR’s account.

The goods were for a wedding at his house and he allegedly did not reimburse the company.

The Namibian was provided a copy of an invoice of beverages bought by NWR at about the same time.

Shikesho is also accused of allegedly promoting his favourite staff members and ill-treating the rest, calling them names.

In response to the complaints, Shikesho wrote an eight-page letter, refuting the allegations.

In the letter, he called on those accusing him to provide proof.

He also accused union leaders of instigating the workers, while stating that he only took a tough stance to keep workers productive as there were some who apparently refused to carry out their duties.

Shikesho further said he has suffered insults from union representative at the company, on social networking sites and at the work place.

Shikesho could not be reached for comment at the time of going to press yesterday.

NWR chairperson Lea Namoloh refused to comment, referring queries to Hengari.

Source : The Namibian