WINDHOEK - The Ministry of Environment and Tourism says some of the demands made by the Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) staff, during a peaceful demonstration earlier last month are incomprehensible, as some may require money and this can only be done as and when the funds are available.
This is according to the Acting Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Teofilus Nghitila. NTB employees held a peaceful march in July in which they amongst others demanded a 10 percent pay hike and in addition they declared a vote of no confidence in the leadership of their CEO, Digu Naobeb as well as the board. They also raised an issue with other internal matters such as, the fact that NTB does not have a lawyer and as such it pays heftily for legal fees. Other pertinent issues they raised pertained to the relationship between the parastatal and the union, as well as the over N$20 million paid to Kora. In a broad-based response addressed to the company, Theobalt Kamatoto, the chairperson of the Workers’ Union Representative Committee (WURCOM), Secretary General of the Namibia Public Workers Union (NAPWU), Peter Nevonga, on Tuesday, Nghitila said some of the grievances are unfounded and cannot be addressed as demanded in the petition.
With regard to calls for the removal of the besieged NTB CEO, the Acting PS wrote; “The CEO was appointed through an open, competitive and transparent recruitment process. He can only be dismissed on sound grounds of breach of his contract of employment after due process have been followed.” On workers’ demands calling for the dissolution of the Board, Nghitila also said this is impossibility.
“The Board was appointed and constituted in terms of the NTB Act and Public Enterprises Governance Act – by Cabinet for a three year term,” stated Nghitila
Regarding the wage negotiations, according to the Acting PS’ letter, obtained by this newspaper, it was agreed the union shall approach the Labour Commissioner on the matter.
Relating to the alleged violation of the recognition agreement, the Acting PS maintained there is a quarterly meeting, chaired by the CEO between NTB and WURCOM and matters of concern are discussed at this platform. “WURCOM can at any given time raise questions with the CEO and request a response from him as appropriate. It is incorrect to state that the union tries to run the affairs of the organisation, and empowers itself to question every decision that is taken,” Nghitila wrote adding that the parties must conceive the modalities to avoid and reduce any ambiguity in terms of the existing Recognition Agreement.
Responding to the legal fees saga, the Acting PS maintained that he is assured that the parastatal is acting in the best interest of the company and that the alleged expenditure, in excess of N$1 million on staff legal issues is contrary to the Board approved financial statements for the external auditing purposes as reflected in the last financial year. “This shows that NTB spent N$649,341.68 on legal costs for the Kora Awards, Syntax and Human Resources related matters.