WALVIS BAY – The Namibia Institute of Mining and Technology employees want the ministry of higher education to immediately discmiss their board of trustees.
The employees are accusing the board of failing to carry out their fiduciary duties.
Employees of the cash-strapped institution protested on Friday at all their campuses for December salaries the institution failed to pay them.
NIMT failed to pay 172 employees their December 2022 salaries, as well as third-party payments such as medical aid and pension.
Backed by their unions, the employees handed over a petition to the management, in which they demanded that all outstanding salaries be paid latest today.
“We demand that NIMT pays our full salaries with interest, as well as all outstanding medical aid contributions, Sanlam retirement annuity fund payments and other deductions. We will take imminent legal action through our bargaining unions if our demands are not met,” employee representative Gabriel Wemmert said when the workers handed over a petition on Friday.
Wemmert said NIMT is in breach of their basic conditions of employment as well as in breach of their contract of employment.
“We are unable to honour our obligations to our respective creditors and service providers. We also incurred interest charges as we could not honour debit orders, bank charges and financial obligations relating to our children’s schooling,” he continued.
Employees last week indicated that the institution is not broke but mismanaged ,and should address its wage bill by getting rid of unnecessary positions.
The high wage bill was confirmed by deputy executive director of the ministry of higher education, Raimo Naanda, to New Era.
According to a document seen by this publication, the institution in 2020 spent about 80% of its budget on salaries. A second document shows that top-tier employees earn between N$1 million to N$1.6 million annually, while those in middle management earn between N$600 000 and N$759 000.
Naanda indicated that the current government budget cuts have had a negative impact on the institution. He said “the ministry requested N$3.4 billion for this year to provide the necessary funding towards our institutions, NTA and NSFAF, amongst others”.
His ministry received only around N$3.1 billion. As a result, the institutions under the ministry also received less than the amounts they requested.
Naanda, however, said the budget cuts are not the only issue of concern, as administrative issues are partially to blame for the late payments of funds from NSFAF to NIMT.
“NIMT needs to make sure that documents are completed correctly and timeously signed off to avoid going back and forth between them and NSFAF, as this delays the payment process,” he noted.
He added that NIMT plays a critical role, and that government will ensure that the non-payment of salaries does not happen again.
Executive director of NIMT Ralph Bussel during an earlier interview told this publication that the financial situation of the institution was explained to workers.
“They knew the status of the institution, and that is why we gave everyone something in December. Those who got bonuses did not receive salaries and those who got their bonuses during the course of the year, got December salaries. However, some of the staff received their full salaries,” Bussel stated.