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Namibia: Engineering Workers Drag Bosses to Court After Pay Cuts

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Employees of Walvis Bay Marine Engineering Services are taking their employer to the Labour Court over salary cuts.

Some 22 employees are asking their employer to reverse a decision to remunerate them for actual hours worked, referred to as ‘short hours’, as opposed to a 50% salary cut agreed upon on 10 July.

The employees agreed on the introduction of ‘short hours’ as per a section of the Labour Act, provided the purpose of the section is complied with in full, main applicant Immanuel Iita says in an affidavit and correspondence filed at the court.

He says on 13 July employees received notices outlining how they are going to work once ‘short time’ is implemented.

The notice is contrary to the purpose of Section 12 (6) of the Labour Act, Iita says.

He says according to their employment contract they have signed for 8,5 hours per day, and Section 12 (6) provides guidance on reducing the agreed number of ordinary hours.

This guarantees the 50% salary reduction.

Iita informed the court that the company introduced ‘short time’ on 15 July despite efforts by the workers’ union to advise the company on the purpose of the act, which the company rejected.

Company manager Eugene Crüys was called by the labour inspector on 23 July for interpretation purposes, and refused to visit the office of the inspector at Walvis Bay, says Iita.

He says the company drew up a No Work No Pay worksheet, while casuals are working at the expense of permanent staff.

The employees are demanding that the company pay back all outstanding money for the days they have been at home on the No Work No Pay principle from 15 July as per their individual salary package.

They are also asking the company to comply with the Labour Act.

Their case is due to be heard on 14 October in the Labour Court at Walvis Bay.

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