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Deadlock as govt firm on salary freeze

2021-12-01  Kuzeeko Tjitemisa

Deadlock as govt firm on salary freeze

Namibia Public Workers Union (Napwu) general secretary Petrus Nevonga yesterday urged civil servants to remain calm after government failed to reach an agreement with unions on salary

“We want to announce to our members and public at large that the negotiations have reached a deadlock as there was no agreement reached due to the government’s persisted zero offer,” Nevonga said in a joint statement. 

He said the two unions, Napwu and Namibia National Teachers Union (Nantu) sub-committee, are exhausting the internal dispute procedures as provided for in the recognition agreement and the outcome of the internal process will be communicated to the members. 

“We hereby appeal to the unions’ ranks and files members to remain calm while the sub-committee is exhausting the internal dispute.” 

He said the two bargaining unions have thus far declared an internal dispute in accordance with the recognition agreement. “The parties shall appoint a fact-finding sub-committee, consisting of representatives for both teams. The main negotiation team has temporarily adjourned to allow the sub-committee to attempt to resolve the dispute,” he said, adding that the sub-committee shall report its findings to the main negotiation committee within 30 days. If parties fail to reach an amicable solution within 30 days, Nevonga said the two unions will be left with no other option but to declare an external dispute with the office of the Labour Commission as per the Act. National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) secretary general Job Muniaro yesterday said his wish is for the involved parties to come to an amicable solution that will be favourable to the workers as well as government. Napwu and Nantu submitted a salary and benefits incremental proposal for the financial year 2021/2022 to government in February this year. The unions requested a 10% increment for salaries across the board, 25% increase to qualifying amounts on housing subsidies, 9% increase on housing allowances, 10% increase on transport for civil servants below management and N$7 per kilometre tariff increase. In May, the unions received a counter offer in writing from government, informing them of its inability to grant salary increments for the 2021/2022 financial year as per the unions’ proposal. Government said at the time “state finances are already stretched to safeguard current government expenditures, inclusive of remuneration related expenditure in order to sustain critical public revenue that have significantly reduced due to a decline in the economy, amongst others.” In his mid-term budget review speech, finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi stressed government intends to tighten the noose on unnecessary expenditure while also keeping down the public wage bill, which gobbles up over 50% of public expenditure under control. “I would like to extend specific gratitude to trade unions and indeed all civil servants for heeding our call and keeping their belts tightened. We still plead with them to maintain patience, especially in the next fiscal year, which promises to be more difficult, so we allow the economy to recover more firmly,” Shiimi said in his speech. 


No deal… Napwu general secretary Peter Nevonga. 


Photo: File 





2021-12-01  Kuzeeko Tjitemisa

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