Workers stage peaceful demo at Arebbusch Lodge

WINDHOEK: More than 100 Arebbusch Travel Lodge workers staged a peaceful demonstration here on Thursday, claiming unfair labour practices at their workplace.

They handed over a petition to the management of the tourist establishment, demanding better salaries and improved working conditions.

The employees, the majority of whom are members of the Namibia Food and Allied Workers’ Union (NAFAU), are further claiming that the management is refusing to recognise their trade union.

“The management went ahead at the end of March 2015 to implement the Wages and Conditions of Employment claiming that there is no signed recognition and procedural agreement between the two parties while the management had agreed, on black and white, last October that NAFAU has the majority of workers in the bargaining unit,” said Sophia Kustaa, who read the petition on behalf of her fellow workers.

She further said that at the end of March 2015, the management of the lodge unilaterally implemented an 8 per cent increment on their basic salaries without the consent of NAFAU.

“This was against our wishes as we wanted our lowest-paid employees to be paid a minimum basic wage of N.dollars 2 500 and the rest of the employees’ basic salaries to be increased by 10 per cent and above,” said Kustaa.

The workers are also demanding free breakfast and lunch, “as it is benefits given by other tourism outlets and hotels in the tourism industry, but all our demands and requests fall on deaf ears”.

“Our colleagues are being dismissed on a daily, weekly and monthly basis when they are found eating any leftover food or tasting food. The management is insensitive to the needs of the workers and they do not respect the rights of the workers… The management always violates our rights by encouraging us to resign from the trade union and rather engage them personally,” the workers stressed.

They warned the management to stop violating the workers’ rights.

“If the management continue with these malpractices, we will be left with no other option other than to report the management to the relevant authority in order for the law to take its course. Some of our comrades have already resigned due to these malpractices,” alleged the workers.

They further requested the management to stop using consultants as their lawyers.

“From today, 21 May 2015, onwards we want our trade union – NAFAU – to be consulted on all matters concerning us,” the workers said.

The disgruntled employees gave the company 48 hours to respond to their demands, saying failure to do so will see them take ‘serious steps’ as per the provisions of the Labour Act, Act 11 of 2007.

Arebbusch Travel Lodge Manager, Johnny Williams received the petition and retreated to his office without making any comment.