Youth Service Security Guards Demand Minimum Wage

MORE than 30 youths employed at the Youth Security Service company under the directorate of the National Youth Service downed tools yesterday over a minimum wage dispute.

The youths, who camped in their company’s parking lot, said their employer was deliberately refusing to adjust their salaries in line with the newly introduced minimum wage that was approved by government as of 1 August this year.

The workers currently earn N$5 per hour since the last adjustment in 2012, as opposed to the newly introduced minimum wage of N$6,75 per hour.

In a letter addressed to the YSS chief executive officer, Johannes Auala, dated 8 September 2014, the group accused him of not paying them according to the set minimum wage.

“This is a common problem we are facing in this company because we are being paid differently, compared to those who have recently joined. We don’t get night allowances or paid for working during public holidays,” said Isak Efraim, one of the guards on strike.

Efraim said it was an embarrassment that an affiliation of a government parastatal was dragging its feet in implementing the minimum wage, while other security companies have already implemented theirs accordingly. The strike is being held with the support of the Namibia Security Guard and Watchman Union.

In a letter responding to the guards earlier this week, Auala said the YSS has started exploring strategies with a view to convince the clients to increase their monthly payments.

“The aim of the increasing client fees is to place YSS in a position of implementing the new minimum wage. Its only lawful for the parties affected to be given ample time to comply. We, therefore, need three to four months to do our out best to meet the requirements,” said Auala.

He said as from 1 June 2014, the company started paying all employees with more than six months in the company their night allowances and public holidays as per the Labour Act.

He said that until the new wage structure is out, YSS will continue to compensate on the previous minimum wage, including public holidays and night allowance.

Spokesperson of the National Youth Service Johanna Kambala confirmed that the company was awaiting feedback from its clients on the matter and would only adjust to the minimum wage once they hear from them.

She appealed for patience while consultations are being made.

“I would also like to stress that YSS cannot be compared to other security companies because we are a non-profit making entity with the aim of providing employment to young people,” she said. YSS employs 230 young people nationwide.

Source : The Namibian