The Trade Union Congress of Namibia (TUCNA) has accused the police of being used to influence negotiations for wages and salaries between companies and trade unions.
TUCNA singled out three separate incidents at Lüderitz where striking workers were arrested ostensibly for public violence only to be released later because there were no grounds for their arrest.
"Police are used to intimidate the workers and they are being used as a tool to influence the outcome of wage negotiations to be in favour of the employers," TUCNA president Paulus Hango told the media this week. He said the incidents took place at three different fishing companies.
Hango also took a strong stand against the Ministry of Health and Social Services and the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology for advocating that some departments be designated as offering essential services, which will effectively deny employees in those departments from striking.
"There is no way that we will allow the Ministry of Health and Social Services to declare the whole hospital as essential," said Hango, adding that essential services refer only to those services, which if interrupted, would endanger the life, personal safety or health of the whole or part of the Namibian population.
"We shall do everything in our powers to block any attempt by the two ministries to declare the hospitals and the NBC as essential services. If we allow the whole Ministry of Health and Social Services to be declared essential, this means that workers will not have the right to strike, and if they do strike, it will be illegal," said Hango.
The trade unionist said the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, is also trying to declare the Namibia Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) an essential service.
"Workers' rights to strike, will be taken away. The attitude and behaviour of the two ministries and their associates constitute an abuse of power and position. The workers have a right to strike and demand for the improvement of their conditions of employment," he said.