Neckartal’s N$2 million-a-day strike ends

Home Business Neckartal’s N$2 million-a-day strike ends


Salini Namibia workers at the Neckartal dam project agreed to go back to work after they were served with a court interdict late last week.

The five-day wildcat strike – which resulted in losses of about N$2 million a day – started last week Monday after workers locked the main entrance to the project site with a chain and padlock and refused to work, citing various reasons. Overall losses are projected at N$10 million.

The workers accused the company of violating the project labour agreement (PLA) signed between the two parties.
The workers demanded that the PLA be fully implemented as agreed on, that salary discrepancies be rectified with immediate effect, and that the contract of the industrial relations officer Michaelino Kadikwa be terminated with immediate effect.

The workers also demanded fair and procedural recruitments, with a stop to the alleged abuse of workers, and the reinstatement of workers whose contracts were allegedly terminated unfairly.

The workers further demanded a revoke of the 12-hour shift, an end to suspensions without any investigations, the reinstatement of shop stewards that are on suspension, and that all foreign nationals occupying positions such as supervisor or foreman that can be filled by Namibians be deported.

After initially defying the court order last Friday, the workers began to go back to work on Saturday, after their union, the Metal and Allied Namibian Workers Union (MANWU), asked them to go back to work.

MANWU //Karas regional branch organiser Emerentia Riekert confirmed that the workers were going back to work.
“The union asked them to go back to work, after the interdict, as it’s the right thing to do while we start with negotiations,” she said, stating that the company has agreed to hold talks today.

A statement from Salini also indicated that the strike is over and that full production was expected to resume by yesterday.
“Salini Namibia expects activity at the construction site to return to normal on Monday after the end of the illegal action. Salini Namibia will meet with union officials later in the week,” reads the statement.

Meanwhile, project manager Fabrizzio Lazzarin says the project is well on track despite the work delays, adding that he is satisfied with the project as it’s now 60% complete.

He indicated that it’s unfortunate that the company had to go to court to resolve the dispute, saying the company always encourages dialogue.

He said the dam is expected to be completed by September 2017.