WINDHOEK – The country’s two largest civil servant unions have told Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila that they do not have a problem with a one-off two percent voluntary contribution by civil servants to the drought coffers, provided that civil servants agree to it themselves.
The Namibian Public Workers Union (Napwu) and the Namibia National Teachers Union (Nantu) leadership this week wrote a letter to Kuugongelwa-Amadhila in which they say their intervention in the matter would be outside their legal mandate, unlawful and outright a non-starter.
“As collective bargaining unions on behalf of civil servants we do not have any stand in law to bargain beyond our mandate, which is limited to bargain for their salary increments and the improvement of conditions of service,” said Napwu general secretary Petrus Nevonga and Nantu secretary general Basilius Haingura in a letter on Monday.
The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) has been consulting with workers’ representatives to create a platform where workers may contribute a one-off voluntary two percent of their salaries towards the fight against drought.
But, Napwu and Nantu are of the opinion that the OPM misunderstood their response on April 8 to the call for a voluntary two percent contribution.
“Our response to your call is that we may not have a problem provided that civil servants agree to give permission voluntarily and individually to have such two percent deducted from their salaries,” said the union’s leadership.
In the joint letter the unions said: “The call by the OPM falls outside our mandate, unlawful and a non-starter effort, given the limit set by the law for us not to negotiate for the reduction of personal salaries of civil servants.”
“We appeal to the Office of Prime Minister to avoid creating public impression that your consultations with the bargaining unions on this matter would yield result while the law is precise as contained in Section 12 of the labour act, (Act No 11 of 2007),” said the unions.
Government last week responded to the nation’s outcry over a call for a one-off voluntary payment from the country’s workforce by emphasising that no one will be victimised if they elected not to contribute.
The call to volunteer this money caused uproar this week, after a letter by the OPM to trade unions entered the public domain on Wednesday.
Spokesperson in the OPM Saima Shaanika said as with the case when a state of national disaster was declared, their office had individuals from both local and international partners volunteering to make contributions.
“So the spirit of giving is already among us. An opportunity is now given to all Namibians who are employed to make their voluntary contributions,” Shaanika said at a media briefing held in Windhoek.
“Government is indeed calling upon Namibians to support national efforts aimed at assisting our compatriots who are affected by the drought to cope with the effects of the drought, as well as to increase opportunities for job creation, especially for our youth,” she stated.
2019-05-31 08:50:04 19 days ago