Namport Strike Finally Resolved

The 77 general workers suspended a week ago by China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) had their suspension lifted and were reinstated and resumed work on Monday.

In a rather surprising press conference, the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) Secretary General, Job Muniaro apologised to the management on behalf of the workers and blamed miscommunication and a lack of understanding of the Labour Act by workers as the main cause of the illegal strike.

The employees went on strike after the company apparently fired three workers who expressed their dissatisfaction against CHEC earlier this month. Although the strike was illegal, the workers protested against the company as they were unhappy about contracts that are valid for two to three weeks or three months at the most.

They demanded for permanent positions that will secure their employment and a better future. The employees also protested against intimidation by a Chinese employee who denied the allegation, as well as transport only available to Chinese employees.

Muniaro said the Metal and Allied Namibia Workers Union( MANWU) affiliated to NUNW and CHEC amicably solved the dispute without any hiccups and on a very good disposition.

“We accepted and appreciate the professional way in which the company addressed and solved the illegal strike. All 77 jobs will not be affected and they all returned to work yesterday (Monday) and the strike holds no financial losses for our members,” Muniaro assured workers.

Muniaro also accepted the blame on behalf of NUNW and MANWU. “As leaders were are always leading, and if you don’t work you won’t make mistakes. However, mistakes can only be corrected by us,” an apologetic Muniaro said.

He added they were notified through the labour offices that the was a serious concern on the authenticity of the strike even though it did not have catastrophic consequences at the end.

“We should be apologetic to the company for our negative contribution towards the project, as our members did not work during the strike. However, we promise that we will in a tripartite manner keep our promise and remember that the port expansion is not only about job creation but also employment creation that is beneficial to all of us,” a sombre-looking Muniaro said.

He confessed the illegal strike was a concern to Namibia overall as the port expansion is a massive project being followed internationally as well.

During the press conference it was also revealed that CHEC will sponsor a training course to some of its employees. The company is willing to sponsor training for shop stewards so that they would be educated more on the country’s Labour Act.

Irma Solomons, on behalf of the company said they will introduce an evaluation system that will be used to grant staff long-term contracts based on their performance, dedication and hard work.

Source : New Era

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