OSHAKATI - Employees of the Furnmart furniture chain at four northern branches joined their national strike to demand better wages and favourable benefits.
The countrywide strike of Furnmart and Home Corp employees is being organised by their bargaining union, Metal and Allied Namibian Workers Union (Manwu).
The workers demand a 12 percent increase in wages.
The employees, the majority of whom are in the sales department, earn a basic salary of N$3 500.
They earn a commission on top of their basic salary if they meet their monthly target of N$100 000, which they claim is impossible given the prevailing economic situation in the country.
They say they have no other benefits except for medical aid, to which each employee contributes 80 percent.
“The company only covers 20 percent of the medical aid. And after that deduction we are left with peanuts,” said the group’s spokesperson Sakeus Mvula.
The group thus wants the two parties to each contribute 50 percent towards the medical aid fund.
The employees further demand housing and transport allowance.
According to the employees, their employer has been feeding the union with false information claiming that the company has been paying housing and transport allowance to its employees since 2007.
On top of that employees allegedly only receive a bonus after being with the company for 10 years.
In addition, the employees have complained about the salary growth in the company.
Joseph Julius, who has been with the company for 20 years, said he has seen minimal growth in his salary.
“I started in Walvis Bay before I came to Oshakati, but 20 years later, I don’t even take home N$5 000,” said Julius.
According to the employees, Julius’ scenario is a typical example of their employer not valuing the workers despite the effort they make to bring money into the company.
Equally, the employees are disgruntled that they are subjected to buy the work uniforms from their own pockets.
Meanwhile, some employees have boycotted the strike and were at work on Saturday.
The strike will continue indefinitely until their demands are met.