Disgruntled ex-Omusati employees allege unfair treatment

• By Hertta-Maria Amutenja 

FORMER employees of Omusati Private Hospital in Outapi are claiming unfair labour practices at the hospital and are alleging they were mistreated by the management.

Amongst the other complaints, the employees are also asserting the hospital did not provide them with sufficient Personal Protective Equipment and proper gloves for cleaning.

According to former doctor, Martha Kakoto who resigned from the hospital last December there were ‘unlawful’ deductions from her monthly earnings after she contracted Covid-19 and was in isolation.

“I fell sick towards end of my last month there and they unlawfully deducted excess sick leave days claiming I had exceeded my sick leave days. After getting a lawyer they now agreed they had miscalculated and deducted wrongly and want to pay the pending amount due to me over 12 months. They also claim they do not owe me any annual leave and claim they already paid for it which they did not. They also claim they paid medical aid one month in advance despite fully knowing they deducted double for medical aid prior to paying my salary,” said Kakoto.

Kakoto had been working for the hospital for nine months prior to her resignation.

In a letter dated January 3 2022 seen by Confidente addressed to the managing director of the hospital Dr Eveline Shingenge, Kakoto’s lawyer Appollos Shimakeni demanded that she pays her full salary.  

“Your decision to deduct money from her payment owing to sick leave days is unlawful and violates Section 24 of the Labour Act No.11 of 2007. We are therefore instructed to demand, as we hereby do, payment of our client’s full salary for the month of December 2021, as well as payment of her eight leave days. Should you fail to adhere to this demand, we hold instructions to institute action in the appropriate legal forum without further notice to you,” read the letter.

However in response, Shingenge’s lawyer, Jacobs Amupolo, disregarded the demand alluding that Kakoto was already paid.

“Our instructions are that your client took a total of 34 sick leave days (not 21 as alleged by your client) during her  period of employment which is four days in excess of the number of days she was entitled to.  We are thus instructed that the deductions made are for excess sick leave days taken albeit, miscalculate, and in this 16.77 days were deducted as being excess sick leave days taken instead of four. Furthermore we are instructed that your client was already paid all accrued annual leave days in December 2021,” read the responses letter dated 19 January 2022.

However in the same response they acknowledge to settle an amount of N$18 468.67 to finalise the matter and said it will be paid to Kakoto in 12 monthly instalments.

Another former employee of the hospital who prefers to be addressed only as Selma said she was fired unceremoniously.

“I just got back from isolation, as I had contracted Covid-19, I was then welcomed with a letter that said my probation was terminated. That did not make sense as I was a permanent employee of the hospital, I had just signed my contract three months prior,” she said.

In the letter seen by Confidente, it states that the hospital acknowledges her as a permanent employee of the hospital.

However, in her termination letter it states that her probation was terminated.

She further said during her time at Omusati Private Hospital no PPE was provided to them whilst working with Covid-19 patients.

“We were only given 10 jumpsuits and 10 face shields and we would reuse as they were not enough. Sometimes even simple things like hand sanitiser or hand wash would be unavailable at the hospital,” said Selma.

Another former employee said she only got to find out that her position as a head of cleaners was occupied by someone else after she returned from maternity leave.

“I went on maternity leave for three months, but when I got back I was informed that my position was already occupied by someone else. I decided to take them to Labour because of the unfairness,” said the former cleaner.

Approached for comment, managing director of the hospital, Shingenge dismissed all the allegations and said the group is trying tarnish her hospital.

“Who told you that? Those people are just trying to paint my hospital bad, please”.