Former Air Namibia worker file Class Action

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Former Air Namibia worker file Class Action
Former Air Namibia worker file Class Action

Africa-PressNamibia. FORMER employees of the now defunct national airliner, Air Namibia, today approached the Labour Commissioner’s Office to file a Class Action lawsuit against government in the hopes of getting a favourable ruling that will expedite the payment of their severance packages.

This comes after a conciliatory meeting which was meant to help liquidators, government, as well as employees reach an amicable agreement, fell through the cracks.

Renier Bougard, an ex-employee of Air Namibia, said that a group of employees attended a meeting today at the Labour Commissioner’s Office in Khomasdal, however, the respondents, including the Ministry of Public Enterprises, the Office of the Prime Minister, and the Ministry of Finance, were a no show.

Bougard stated that only the liquidators were present at the meeting. He added that due to this, the meeting was postponed to 17 November 2021 and that in the meantime, they have filed a Class Action lawsuit representing all Air Namibia employees who will be demanding for the expediting of their severance package payment.

Earlier this year, government resolved to liquidate the national airliner after it became insolvent, resulting in 636 permanent staff losing their jobs. The former employees are currently owed roughly N$105 million in severance packages that include leave days and pension.

“We are still waiting on our severance packages. It’s been six months since the last working day, which was the 3rd of March 2021. The Labour Act is clear on the fact that severance packages should be paid on or before the last day of employment. Our respondents, which is the government, did not show up. It’s sad that after 22 years of service you have to fight with government to get your severance pay. The country’s flag was on Air Namibia and in our view, the government should be the one responsible for the severance payments, and not the liquidators, however, they have abandoned their duty,” Bougard said.

The Minister of Public Enterprises, Leon Jooste, clarified that government has paid the 12-month ex-gratia payments to all former Air Namibia employees.

“The payment of the severance packages has nothing to do with government as a shareholder, as this is the responsibility of the liquidators. They have to pay this as it is a first priority as soon as enough assets have been sold to enable them to pay,” Jooste said.

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