WINDHOEK - Close to 1000 employees of Namibia Wildlife Resort (NWR) could go on strike soon after the Namibia Public Workers Union (Napwu) and the company failed to reach consensus on wage negotiations.
Napwu Deputy General Secretary Gabes Andumba confirmed the status yesterday, saying that the door remained open for further negotiations.
NWR Managing Director Zelna Hengari refused to comment saying: “The matter is at a sensitive stage and we shall never negotiate through the media.”
She said she was confident that, as in the past, an amicable solution with ‘partners’ Napwu would be reached.
New Era understands that the employees through their union Napwu are demanding a 12 percent salary increment while management is only offering four percent, which according to the union is below the inflation rate.
State-owned NWR, with an exclusive mandate to run tourism facilities within the protected areas of Namibian parks, announced earlier this year that for a period 2015 to 2017, the company recorded combined revenue of N$679 million.
At the time, Hengari said during the 2015/16 financial year, NWR earned revenue of N$300 million, while in 2016/17 it made N$379 million.
She said the revenue was used to clear all NWR’s historical debts, which included tax liability of over N$33 million in 2015.
A unionist yesterday accused the NWR board of directors of conflict of interest.
“We strongly feels that a lot of board members are strongly conflicted and that is why they are acting in bad faith - they are trying to avoid NWR setting salary precedent for their workers at Avani and Swakopmund Hotel and Entertainment Centre and the rest of the industry they represent,” the unionist said.
According to him, the union has apparently long been concerned at the obvious conflicts of interest in the board as one member of the board is set to be a tour operator and therefore a client of NWR, while others run entities that are in direct competition with the NWR.
“Their motives when making many decisions at NWR have been worrying the union for a while,” said the source within the union.
He said Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta recently wrote to the board urging them to negotiate in good faith but according to the source, all this has fall in deaf ears.“The minister went unheeded as the board stuck to its guns with the measly offer to the staff,” said the source.Contacted for comment yesterday, NWR board chairperson Ambassador Leonard Iipumbu referred all media queries to management.
2018-11-13 09:15:56 8 months ago