A GROUP of workers from the City of Windhoek’s solid waste department gathered in Katutura this afternoon to protest the anticipated non-renewal of their six-month contracts.
While the workers say they have not received an official termination of contract letter yet, they claim they were informed by city officials that they would not be renewed.
City of Windhoek CEO Robert Kahimise today told The Namibian that a decision regarding the 610 solid waste workers contracts has not yet been made.
Senior city officials today met with Windhoek mayor Fransina Kahungu, Petrus Nevonga of the Namibia Public Workers’ Union (NAPWU) and fixed-term workers.
The reason for the meeting was to discuss a petition submitted by NAPWU earlier this month for better employment terms.
NAPWU’s secretary general Petrus Nevonga said they are still working with the city to come to an agreement and that a decision will be finalised soon.
The workers have been employed by City of Windhoek for three years under six month contracts which have been continuously renewed.
A worker payslip seen by The Namibian shows that the contract termination date is tomorrow, 31 July.
The monthly income of a city solid-waste worker is N$3000, plus a monthly transport allowance of N$600. The workers, however, receive no benefits such as medical aid.
In a letter addressed to Kahungu dated 29 July, the workers demand to be employed permanently by the city, as well as to receive medical aid, housing and pension grant benefits.
The letter also demands better health and safety measures for workers in the solid-waste department.
“We are getting sick due to the condition we are working in without medical aid and we are also exposed to other things like loaded weapons (guns), dead bodies, babies that are dumped…” reads part of the letter.
Several workers who wished to remain annonymous complained that they are treated poorly by the city in comparison to workers in other departments.
They claim they have never received a medical check up from their employers despite working a hazardous job, have never received a salary raise, and worked during the Covid-19 lockdown with no additional pay.
“But still we are treated like cockroaches… we don’t even know what the inside of the [City of Windhoek] offices look like,” said one worker.
Others said they do not understand why their contracts are being reviwed.
“Why terminate our contracts? Who will clean the streets?” a worker asked.