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Menzies holds on to employees

Despite airport services company Menzies Aviation no longer conducting business at Hosea Kutako International Airport, its employees’ contracts are still in effect.

The company confirmed this on Tuesday, although it did not provide specific details regarding the future of its employees.

“Employment contracts are still active and all of our employees at Hosea Kutako International Airport have been paid in full for the month of August. They continue to have full access to all their company benefits, including counselling, trauma or financial assistance,” said the company.

According to the company, it is actively supporting its employees and providing regular briefings on the status of its business.

Menzies acknowledge that the transitional process can cause emotional stress and financial insecurity for employees.

“We are proactively supporting our employees in a range of ways and we hope they will continue to be employed at the airport going forward, as they are highly trained and experienced in providing aviation services,” reads a statement issued by Menzies.

The company insists it was not lawfully evicted from the airport on 19 August.

The Namibia Airports Company (NAC) and Menzies have been engaged in court battles for more than a year, after Menzies lost the bid to provide ground-handling services at the airport.

The contract was awarded to Paragon Investment Holdings.

Menzies said employees were stopped at the gate and prevented from entering the airport premises by the NAC and Paragon, with the assistance of the deputy sheriff and the Namibian Police, on 19 August.

“If Menzies was indeed evicted, as falsely claimed by Paragon and the NAC, it would have been possible for Menzies to retrieve all its belongings from the airport, and it would also have been permissible for Menzies to hand over all cargo to the lawful consignees,”said the company.

Long-serving Menzies employees, who spoke to The Namibian on condition of anonymity, alleged that most of them were dismissed, because the company was avoiding paying severance packages. They also claimed most of the current staff had been with the company for less than a year.

At its peak, the company had an estimated staff complement of 140 employees.

Efforts to contact the Namibia Transport and Allied Workers Union the bargaining union representing Menzies employees, proved futile, as the general secretary, Narina Pollman, did not answer phone calls or respond to messages sent via Whats­App.

The Namibian wanted to confirm whether the union was engaged in discussions with Menzies regarding the fate of the employees.

Desmond Amunyela


Paragon co-owner Desmond Amunyela said Menzies workers are valued for their expertise and contributions to the company.
He also said Paragon is committed to providing equal opportunities for Namibians and non-discrimination.

“We are a Namibian company with equal opportunities for Namibians. We don’t discriminate. We have no qualms with any Namibian, including those who have worked for Menzies. In fact, this fight is for them so that they are not only referred to as our employees, but rather as our partners,” he said.

According to Amun­yela, everyone working for Paragon is considered a co-owner, with distinct responsibilities and authorities.

“I’m not going to be at Paragon forever. I will one day retire or pass away and those who remain will hopefully carry Paragon forward as their own. And the journey starts now with anyone who joins Paragon,” he said.