Namibia: Laid Off Hotel Workers Got Full Packages

The board of the Safari Hotels says the company's retrenched workers have received full retrenchment packages in line with Namibia's labour laws.

Responding to The Namibian's questions on Sunday, board chairperson Philip Ellis said this includes severance pay, outstanding leave and both the pension contributions made by the employer and the employee in respect of those employees who chose to be members of the company's pension fund.

Ellis' response was also in reaction to the trade union representing Safari Hotels employees which has launched a case at the Office of the Labour Commissioner against the company for failure to negotiate an alternative to retrenchments.

The Namibia Food and Allied Workers Union (Nafau) asked for one month's full remuneration, severance payment of two weeks for each year of service, and N$10 000 to be paid to all retrenched employees to help pay off their debts and to transport their belongings to their homes or villages.

The company retrenched 177 of its 219 employees due to the financial impact of the Covid-19 lockdown imposed near the end of March.

The remaining 42 staff members will have their salaries cut by 50%, the company said.

"Nafau, as was its duty, demanded additional remuneration to that offered, but the company could simply not meet these demands. To this extent the remaining 42 employees would receive only 50% of their normal salaries for the time being. It is an integral part of the Safari strategy to re-employ the retrenched employees as soon as reasonably possible," Ellis said.

He said the board and the remaining management members are currently working tirelessly to try and secure business for the conference centre and both the three-star and four-star hotels, despite the fact that foreign tourism will in all likelihood only resume in February or March next year.

Ellis said its main source of income is from foreign tourists and large conferences which receive delegates from the whole of the Southern African Development Community region and all regions of Namibia.

The union's deputy general secretary, Absalom Willem, told The Namibian on Saturday they held their first meeting with Safari management on 7 May to discuss retrenchments.

He said according to the state of emergency regulations, companies should not retrench workers during the lockdown, and the union has approached the company to reconsider its decision.

The union also approached the Ministry of Finance to assist the company with paying employees to avoid retrenchments, but the ministry has not responded to their requests.

Alternatively, they wanted the company to pay an additional 30% of employees' remuneration.

Willem said they lodged a case at the labour commissioner's office on Thursday and are awaiting a response before taking the next step.

See What Everyone is Watching

More From: Namibian

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 800 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.