Rent-A-Drum accused of targeting Revolutionary Union members for retrenchment

Rent-A-Drum, a prominent waste management company, is facing allegations of planning to retrench 12 employees who joined the Revolutionary Union at Swakopmund.

It is claimed that 11 employees were verbally informed that 31 May would be their last working day.

The Revolutionary Union is an offshoot of the Affirmative Repositioning movement, which was registered this year.

Some of the affected employees, who spoke to The Namibian on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation, said Rent-A-Drum management is now hostile to them.

They believe the planned retrenchment is an intimidation tactic the company is employing.

“We left the other union because they were never there for us when we needed their support in dealing with management issues. When they did show up, they always sided with the company. Now, they have told us that the end of the month will be our last day,” said one employee.

The employees claim that initially, 26 of them were targeted for retrenchment, but the number changed over the course of the months.

“We have now been informed that new positions will soon be advertised. The company is not retrenching the people who recently joined, but rather those of us who have been with the company for years,” the employees added.

Clarinda Louw, the Rent-A-Drum’s human resource administrator at Swakopmund, confirmed that the company is considering retrenchments, but denied any connection to the Revolutionary Union.

“We are indeed planning retrenchments, but this is being done in collaboration with a different union, not the AR, and the number of affected employees is not 12,” she stated.

She referred further questions to the company’s human resource head, Tertius Woensdregt. However, Woensdregt did not respond to emailed inquiries.

Tuhafeni Petrus, the Revolutionary Union representative in the Erongo region, confirmed that the employees had resigned from their previous union last year.

“They joined the AR before our union received recognition, but the company has refused to engage with us. Despite the employees no longer being part of the old union, the company continues to communicate with that union, while the workers are no longer members,” Petrus said.

The recognised union at Rent-A-Drum is the Metal and Allied Namibian Workers’ Union (Manwu).

John Nghinyekwa, the union’s Erongo regional coordinator, clarified that the retrenchments are not targeting employees based on their affiliations, but rather because the contract they were employed under has ended.

The company had a trash recycling contract with the Swakopmund municipality. Nghinyekwa further said the number of employees to be retrenched is 21, not 12.

“The contract with the municipality has expired, and there is little the company can do about it. However, I strongly believe that Rent-A-Drum will secure the contract again because no other company has similar capacity,” he said.

He also said those who will be retrenched will be given priority consideration for re-employment if the company secures the contract again.

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