THE Metal and Allied Namibian Workers Union (Manwu) says workers in the sector are being treated like slaves because they work under dangerous and inhuman conditions.
According to Manwu secretary general Justina Jonas these were some of the issues the union's central committee discussed during its meeting on 19 October in Walvis Bay.
"Some companies pay the workers a minimum wage while others don't. At times, health and safety regulations are not observed but most companies are doing their best," Jonas told The Namibian last week.
She, however, praised companies that treat employees well although she said that some were treating their employees like slaves.
Namibia has more than 30 000 metal and construction workers.
Manwu also noted that Namibian who are working on the country's roads and buildings earn a tiny fraction of the huge amounts the construction companies make.
According to Jonas, the motor engineering and allied sectors do not have basic benefits and the workers barely get enough to pay for their basic needs.
"Most of the employees work unbelievably long hours for a pittance. They are not being fairly paid for the valuable services they provide," Jonas said.
The union's other concerns are the transportation of workers on tipper trucks, intimidation by employers regarding joining trade unions, unfair dismissals and victimisation.
The Manwu central committee also resolved that Namibians must be given the priority when government tenders are awarded and that unscrupulous employers who have been given tenders but do not comply with labour laws were another thorny issue.
Manwu also asked for trade unions to be consulted when foreign investors are awarded tenders.