Namibia: Marcia Kauatjitotje victimized- send protest messages

As our readers know, ISp supported the campaign to defend Marcia Kauatjitotje, a victimized worker in Namibia (read our initial post here), along the Workers International Network.

The campaign had an initial success and Marcia was found not guilty. Now the Eagle Night Watch has tried again, renewed the original charges and, with another hearing, Marcia has been found guilty of “Unauthorized Communications with the Media”. There was just one last chance that the company would issue a final warning but instead they are preparing to dismiss Marcia.
Our readers can see the statement and draft resolution below. We ask them to use the draft resolution and send protest emails. Marcia is living through double jeopardy and her fate and the future for workers in Namibia is at stake.

DOUBLE JEOPARDY: TRIED AND TRIED AGAIN

VICTIMIZED FOR THE TRUTH IN NAMIBIA

The case of Marcia Kauatjitotje

Marcia Kautjitotie is a 38-year-old worker at Eagle Night Watch, a sub-contractor to Husab uranium mine, which is owned by the China General Nuclear Power Group and has the potential to become the second largest uranium mine in the world.

Workers say they “have problems with both companies”, as the Chinese corporation uses a sub-contractor to shield the major company from disputes and charges of gross exploitation.

She has been victimized for telling the truth about exploitation and working conditions in the security company – and she has already been found Not Guilty of the charges against her. But now she has been tried again. In a classic case of double jeopardy, she has had the same charges repeated… and this time found guilty on the same charges!

What is the evidence against her? First, that she never asked permission of the CEO and continued to voice her views; and, finally, that the resulting international campaign in support of her case hurt the company!

Marcia needs your help! In the latest documents the Company makes clear they see no mitigating, only aggravating, factors for “Unauthorized Communications with the Media” and want her dismissed. She is struggling in poor housing with two daughters. With this result the whole work force will pay the price.

In October 27 and 28 Marcia gave evidence to the Labour Tribunal on working conditions of Namibian workers of the starvation wages and untrue statements made by Eagle Night Watch.

She and other workers exposed the following:

  • Worker representatives have been victimized for defending their comrades, previous representatives have been fired and currently 4 worker leaders have been suspended;
  • Although Eagle Night Watch is paid Namibian Dollar NAD17,000 (US$944) a month per worker it only pays NAD3,500 -4,000 (US$222) to the worker;
  • Workers do not have permanent jobs but short term contracts; workers who are “sent home for a while” find they are actually fired:
  • Injuries on the job are not compensated although wage deductions are made for industrial safety insurance;
  • The Affirmative Action (AA) employment reports required by law, has had all kinds of false statements and the Company refuses to let workers see the report they have filed;
  • Deductions are made for social security which is jointly funded by employers and workers, but these are not paid in to the Social Security Commission;
  • Tax is deducted but workers told to go and register and pay tax at Namibia Revenue Agency (NamRA) and pay twice;
  • Women workers are fired when found to be pregnant; and
  • There is no danger pay despite security workers being employed in a hazardous environment exposed to raw uranium.

Marcia has reported at the Tribunal: “Our work is to protect the assets of the company, but we are actually doing other work: reception, photostatting, driving ambulances, driving fire-trucks. My concern is that this is actually not security work. We do things that we are not trained for, and then paid as security guards, which is not fair. Our employer refuses to acknowledge our lawful rights, it also refuses to acknowledge women.”

“Security workers are expected also to be firemen and drivers; we are the last ones to leave that mine. If there is an accident or an explosion or something, when others go home, or there is something that happens to cause people to have to vacate the mine, we remain behind.”

Marcia was elected Treasurer of Workers United of Namibian Workers United formed to fight for workers rights in all sectors of the Namibian economy.

Marcia is facing being blacklisted and misery.

PLEASE TAKE ACTION FOR MARCIA AND OTHER WORKERS FIRED OR SUSPENDED FOR FIGHTING FOR THEIR RIGHTS!

Please draft resolutions to mention the following:

We understand that although on 22 February 2024 Marcia Kauatjitotje had already been found not guilty, identical charges have now been repeated against her and were upheld on 15 May 2024.

We protest at the fact that Marcia has been tried twice and experienced double jeopardy. Now the company is finalizing her dismissal.

We support the workers’ right to organize trade unions and to tell the truth about their wages and working conditions, without the threat of victimization, whether in Namibia or internationally.

We demand that Eagle Night Watch immediately reinstate Marcia Kauatjitotje, as well as Lourens Soroseb and the suspension of all other worker leaders be lifted.

Namibia is a small country, and workers’ leaders are known and discriminated against. We protest such continued victimization; such anti-union and anti-worker victimization must stop, and all workers must have fair access to a job.

We demand that the following ILO conventions particularly be implemented:

C87 – Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize Convention, 1948

C98 – Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949

C158 – Termination of Employment Convention, 1982 (Ratified 28 Jun. 1996) and

C135 – Workers’ Representatives Convention, 1971.

We demand that the national and local Labour Commissioners give full support to the workers acting on their rights they won against apartheid and enacted in law. We ask that Affirmative Action Reports should be tabled for workers’ discussion and approval.

We support Eagle Night Watch and all security workers’ demand for a permanent job, a living national minimum wage and full labour rights to organize and negotiate with the employer.

SEND TO:

1 Eagle Night Watch Security

[email protected]

Phone number: +264 61 245 943

2 Swakopmund

[email protected]

Tel: +264 64 03332

3 Office of the Minister of Labour, Hon. Utoni Nujoma

[email protected]

4 Please copy messages of support to:

Workers international network: [email protected]

And United Front Committee for a Labor Party: [email protected]

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