WINDHOEK - Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) employees are expected to resume work following an agreement to backdate their salary increment of 6 percent to 18 months with effect from today.
The increase that came after NBC staff threw an industrial tantrum resulting in the public broadcaster abandoning normal programming, dates back to April 1 2017.
The agreement ended a three-day strike that started Friday morning when the broadcaster’s TV and radio stations went off air at 09h00.
NBC stations played only music and its staff appeared very strategic as their actions took place on the eve of the Second National Land Conference, which started yesterday.
However, NBC management briefly went on air to broadcast President Hage Geingob’s speech at the opening of the land conference currently underway.
Namibia Public Workers Union (Napwu) Secretary General Petrus Nevonga announced the agreement reached yesterday in the presence of union officials and NBC management only, as NBC employees refused to enter the premises to be addressed.
Nevonga, however, said the three-day strike had ended after the agreement was signed and employees were expected to resume work as normal. Nevonga updated the rest of the employees countrywide from the NBC studio.
Nevonga said although the employees didn’t give them the opportunity to address them on what was agreed, the outcome of the agreement speaks in their favour. He said the employees were called to a place that is convenient to inform them as the message was not intended for the public.
“We invited them (employees) to the studio, they refused but forfeited the opportunity to get information well in advance and were left with no option but to sign the agreement,” Nevonga said before signing the agreement yesterday. The employees felt this was not part of the strike rules and were scared they will be held liable should anything happen on NBC premises.
The agreement is exclusively a salary increment, excluding retirement and medical aid.
NBC Director General Stanley Similo stated the issue around the retirement fund is being addressed.
“In fact, we should have had the retirement fund paid out last week already but we had to prioritise some of the things. In the next couple of days, we will see a lot of things happening. We’re looking at an NBC where things are done differently. The non-payment is linked to us (NBC) not having funds,” Similo explained yesterday.
He added that the three-day strike that saw NBC going off air since Friday is a lesson to those who need to take care of them.
“I have maintained the view that the funding model of NBC is not fixed, we will end up here, year in, year out. For me there is a fundamental that needs to be fixed but that is something I am addressing with the board and shareholder as well,” further stated Similo.
He said NBC plays a pivotal role in terms of disseminating information that is crucial to members of the public.
“We speak in all the languages that people in this country understand. Once that platform is not there we are depriving them of access to information,” said the NBC chief.
Lastly, Similo refuted allegations that he was held hostage. He explained that at no point was he scared of the protesting employees who had blocked the entrance refusing him to drive out. He added that his son called and was worried after someone told him he was killed. “At no point was I scared, absolutely not, these are my people. I know they were angry, they have desires and needed something that will appease their feelings, that’s why I didn’t run out… I didn’t see it as being held hostage,” he maintained.
2018-10-02 09:06:10 7 months ago