FIGHTING WOMAN VICTIMISED – Marcia Kauatjitotje (37) Security Surveillance operator for Eagle Night Watch in Namibia has been victimized for telling the truth about exploitation and working conditions in the security company.
Eagle Night Watch is a sub-contractor to Husab uranium mine (formerly Rössing South Mine) owned by the China General Nuclear Power Group and has the potential to become the second largest uranium mine in the world.
Workers say they “have problems with both companies” as the Chinese Husab owners use a sub-contractor to shield the major company from disputes and charges of gross exploitation.
Marcia has now been suspended from Eagle Night Watch company which provides security mostly to the Husab mine inland from Swakopmund. She is struggling in poor housing with a 5 year old daughter.
In October 27 and 28 Marcia gave evidence to the Labour Tribunal on working conditions of Namibian workers of the starvation wages and untrue statements made by Eagle Night Watch.
She and other workers exposed the following:
· Worker representatives have been victimized for defending their comrades, previous representatives have been fired and currently 4 worker leaders have been suspended;
· Although Eagle Night Watch is paid Namibian Dollar NAD17,000 (US$944) a month per worker it only pays NAD3,500 -4,000 (US$222) to the worker;
· The national minimum wage set for security officers of NAD10 per hour set in 2017 is not being paid; some workers were promised NAD12 per hour when was then reduced NAD9.50 per hour, others earn even less;
· Workers do not have permanent jobs but short term contracts; workers who are “sent home for a while” find they are actually fired:
· Injuries on the job are not compensated although wage deductions are made for industrial safety insurance;
· The Affirmative Action (AA) employment reports required by law, have all kinds of false statements and the Company refuses to let workers see the report they have filed;
· Deductions are made for social security which is jointly funded by employers and workers, but these are not paid in to the Social Security Commission;
· Tax is deducted but workers told to go and register and pay tax at Namibia Revenue Agency (NamRA) and pay twice;
· Women workers are fired when found to be pregnant; and
· There is no danger pay despite security workers being employed in a hazardous environment exposed to raw uranium.
Marcia reported at the Tribunal: “Our work is to protect the assets of the company, but we are actually doing other work: reception, Photostatting, driving ambulances, driving fire-trucks. My concern is that this is actually not security work. We do things that we are not trained for, and then paid as security guards, which is not fair. Our employer refuses to acknowledge our lawful rights, it also refuses to acknowledge women.”
“Security workers are expected also to be firemen and drivers; we are the last ones to leave that mine. If there is an accident or an explosion or something, when others go home, or there is something that happens to cause people to have to vacate the mine, we remain behind.”
After correcting the false representations in the Affirmative Action report she was suspended for “bringing the company into disrepute” and she is now fighting for her job and life.
Workers say they are abandoned by the Ministry of Labour as the SWAPO government defends employers and Chinese companies, not Namibian workers: “We reported it to the Labour inspector in Swakopmund. That case just went under the table, we never received any help from Labour.”
After the Tribunal hearings in October Marcia was elected Treasurer of Workers United formed to fight for workers rights in all sectors of the Namibian economy.
She was victimized for her stand. In hearings on November 23 the Company refused to table the AA Report to prove Marcia wrong; she remains suspended and the Labour Commissioner is not acting to defend workers.
She is facing being blacklisted and misery.
PLEASE TAKE ACTION FOR MARCIA AND OTHER WORKERS FIRED OR SUSPENDED FOR FIGHTING FOR THEIR RIGHTS!
Please draft resolutions to mention the following:
We support workers right to organize trade unions and to tell the truth about their wages and working conditions without victimization in Namibia and internationally;
In particular we demand the immediate reinstatement of Marcia Kauatjitotje who has given evidence on behalf of workers at the recent Labour Tribunal;
We also demand the reinstatement of Lourens Sorobeb and the lifting of the suspension of all other worker leaders.
All blacklisting of workers must end: workers report they are blacklisted after victimization as Namibia is a small country and worker leaders are known and discriminated against; such anti-union and anti-worker victimization must stop and all workers must have the fair access to a job;
We demand that all ILO conventions including:
C87 – Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize Convention, 1948
C98 – Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949
C158 – Termination of Employment Convention, 1982 (Ratified 28 Jun. 1996)
C26 – Minimum Wage-Fixing Machinery Convention, 1928
C131 – Minimum Wage Fixing Convention, 1970
C135 – Workers’ Representatives Convention, 1971
C155 – Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 1981
be immediately observed;
We ask that the national and local Labour Commissioners give full support to the workers in demanding their rights they won against apartheid and had enacted in law and to have the Affirmative Action Reports tabled for their discussion and approval; and
We support Eagle Night Watch workers’ demand for a permanent job and a living wage and full labour rights to organize and negotiate with the employer.
1 Eagle Night Watch Security
Address: 356 Platinum St, Prosperita, Windhoek, Namibia
City of Namibia
Post Office box: 23870, Windhoek, Namibia
+264 61 245 943,, Fax: +264 61 245 948
Tel: +264 64 03332
3 National Labour Commissioner:
4 Labour Commissioner, Walvis Bay
+264 64 205929 (Tel)
+264 64 206838 (Fax)
5 Please copy messages of support to:
Workers international network: email@example.com
And United Front Committee for a Labor Party: Info@ufclp.org