By Elvis Muraranganda
WATER utility, Namwater has refused to adhere to a labour arbitration award compelling it to end a lockout of and reinstate its estranged general manager: Engineering and Scientific Services, Kuiri Tjipangandjara.
In 2014, the post was abruptly rendered redundant by the parastatal for structural, economic and operational reasons; however, it was done so without the proper consultations with Tjipangandjara.
Subsequently, Tjipangandjara was instructed to handover all instruments of his post and take up the office of Chief Water Supply: Central, which he refused to take up citing that he was not consulted.
This ultimately resulted in the company locking him out of his duty station at 176 Iscor Street in Windhoek’s Northern Industrial Area. The lockout is believed to have been a way of coercing Tjipangandjara into accepting the new post.
Early this month labour arbitrator Kyllikki Sihlahla also had to consider whether Namwater offered the employee other alternatives after it was agreed that they should consult following a November 2015 settlement agreement.
In Sihlahla’s award dated March 8 2017, the company was ordered to end the lockout and allow Tjipangandjara to return to work so that proper consultations can commence without delay.
It is further awarded that both parties should engage in this process in good faith and in line with the voluntary settlement agreement.
Asked whether he had returned to work as ordered by the arbitrator, Tjipangandjara maintained that he is still locked out of his office 20 days later after the arbitration award.
“On March 13, I sent an email and dropped off a letter, indicating that I will return to work the next day which was the 14th,” Tjipangandjara told Confidente.
“In my communication I requested that I may be provided with my office, for parking to be ready and the secretary to be redeployed back to my office.”
According to him, although the secretary to Namwater’s chief executive officer (CEO) Vaino Shivute, confirmed receipt of the letters, she indicated that her boss would only be at work on March15.
“That entire week, after the award, I pitched up for work and sat in the lobby in front of the boardroom but I could not meet with the CEO although he was there one or two times during that week.”
“I need to have access to my office and the documents there in order for me to be able to negotiate.”
Meanwhile Shivute told Confidente that they have appealed Sihlahla’s award. “Tjipangandjara’s lawyers have been notified about the appeal. Tjipangandjara was copied in that correspondence. We are expecting to hear from [them].”
When contacted for comment, the office of the Labour Commissioner said Namwater had to implement the award immediately as instructed and that Tjipangandjara must approach a labour inspector who will oversee the enforcement of the award.
Also, Tjipangandjara stands advised to approach the courts that would ensure that N
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015