KEETMANSHOOP – Workers from the Namibia Industrial Development Agency (NIDA) held a peaceful demonstration earlier this week at Naute dam outside Keetmanshoop.
Handing over a petition in which they expressed their utmost disappointment over what they feel is their unfair treatment at the hands of management, workers claimed that their complaints, raised through the Namibian Food and Allied Workers Union (Nafau), has fallen on deaf ears since 2018.
“We were previously employed by the Namibia Development Corporation (NDC) which was taken over by NIDA on 19 October 2018 following its establishment, and the subsequent appointment of the Namibia Industrial Development Agency Board of Directors with Uparura Kuvare as executive director,” explained the group’s spokesperson Brendon April.
According to him this was when their unfair treatment started.
“Our wages and conditions of employment were last increased in 2017 under NDC management,” the group stated in their petition. April said despite their union continually engaging NIDA, nothing has changed. The group furthermore raised concern that they are still employed under NDC contracts despite the latter having been dissolved.
The spokesperson cited the discontinuation of their packer bonuses during the harvest season as well as not getting uniforms for the past two years as issues amongst others causing their unhappiness.
“We, with our union, submitted a wage and conditions of service proposal to NIDA management on 31 July 2018 but despite being promised to be implemented during December 2019 (when the agency was supposed to receive funding from its stakeholder) it never materialised,” April explained.
Issues contained in this agreement entails salary increases ranging from 8 to 15 percent with a minimum wage of N$2 000 for seasonal employees.
Other proposals mentioned include a monthly transport allowance of N$250 as well as a bush allowance of N$1 000 per month and a one-off death assistance of N$5 000.
“Fruitful talks between NIDA and Nafau addressing our wages and conditions of service proposal, smooth transition from NDC to NIDA, provision of buses for staff transport, as well as access to health services should take place before the end of January 2020 with payment of all monies backdated from April 2018,” April listed as their demands in the petition.
Workers vowed to pursue and explore all available avenues to ensure their concerns would be addressed and furthermore promised not to rest until their demands were met.
At the handing over the petition NIDA management declined to accept it as they were not informed in advance of the demonstration.
The Namibian Industrial Development Agency is a state-owned enterprise, established in terms of the Namibia Industrial Development Agency Act (Act o. 16 of 2016).
It was put in place following the dissolution of the previous Namibia Development Corporation. It produces amongst others table grapes and dates for export purposes at the project.
Dismayed… NIDA employees demonstrating for better working conditions.