Namibia: Nafau Members Jump Ship to Revolutionary Union

15 September 2021

Over 20 employees of Africa Deli at Walvis Bay, who were members of the Namibian Food and Allied Workers' Union (Nafau), resigned from the union on Monday.

The employees, through their representative Elvis Uakumbua, cited a lack of representation in their labour affairs with their employer as the reason for their resignation.

"We have tried many times but [received] no help, changes and improvement.We decided to resign from Nafau and join another union to help with our situation," said Uakumbua.

The Africa Deli employees are set to join the Affirmative Repositioning's yet-to-be-registered Revolutionary Union (RU). They are the second group of employees to give RU the mandate to handle their labour matters with their employer. Two months ago, a group of about 400 former fishermen also gave RU the mandate to handle their affairs.

The group further claims that they have been on a no-work, no-pay labour contract for over five years through labour hire company African Personnel Services (APS).

Through this, they have had no benefits and their last rate adjustment was in 2019.

"They must do something about their rates and benefits. And the no-work, no-pay [system] must end. At least they must pay us N$4 500 monthly when we are not working and when we are off sick, they must pay us when we have proof," added Uakumbua.

They also demand that APS place them with employers who have daily work for them where there is stability of income. "Currently, we get called. Sometimes you work only three days a month, sometimes only five hours. At least when one has been employed through APS for more than six months they have to give you permanent employment," he added.

Attempt to get a comment from APS's branch manager Jakkie Weise proved futile as questions sent were not answered.

Nafau Walvis Bay branch organiser Joseph Makanga said the members are free to join another union.

"The Labour Act and the Constitution make provision for people to associate with whoever they wish to. It's just currency. When one resigns, let the other know your reason for resignation so that we can improve where we have not done right," said Makanga.

Knowledge Ipinge, the Affirmative Repositioning's regional coordinator for the Erongo region, confirmed that the group has approached RU and their labour desk is engaging them.

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