• September 20th, 2019

Stalemate in civil servants pay talks



WINDHOEK - Government has dug in its heels and refuses to yield to demands by civil servants who want an average of nine percent salary improvements and fringe benefits over the next three years.
Namibia National Teachers Union (Nantu) and the Namibia Public Workers Union (Napwu) confirmed yesterday that they have filed a dispute of interest on 18th June with the Office of the Labour Commissioner.

Now, the civil servants unions wait, as per the Labour Act, for Labour Commissioner Henri Kassen to invite the two parties within 30 days, to resolve the matter through a process of conciliation.
Nantu Secretary General Basilius Haingura, addressing the media in Windhoek yesterday, said after four rounds of negotiations that started in March last year, the unions were left with no other options but to approach the Labour Commissioner Kassen.

He said the two unions have been engaging with government on the improvements of salaries and fringe benefits for civil servants for 2018/19, 2019/20 and 2020/21 financial years.
According to Haingura, on January 2018, the two unions submitted items to the Office of the Prime Minister for negotiation for the said three financial years.

“The aim for the submission was to negotiate for the annual improvement of salaries, fringe benefits and the conditions of employment for civil servants in the public sector,” Haingura said.
According to him, the unions proposed an increment of eight percent across the board for the 2018/19 financial year, nine percent salary increment, 10 percent increment on housing subsidy and housing allowance for 2019/2020 financial year.

Similarly, he said the union for the 2020/21 financial year proposed 10 percent salary increment, 12 percent increment on transport allowance for both management and employees below management and N$6 per kilometer for transport when using own vehicles.

The first meeting he said was held on 14th of March last year, but government negotiation team did not provide any counter offers to the union’s proposal in writing as a procedural matter.

According to Haingura, the second meeting took place on the 5th July last year and during the deliberation, the government was unable to make a counter offer due to the “unfavorable economic situation” which is prevailing in the country.

“The unions considered critically the government’s position and it was on this bases that the union gave government a breathing space by agreeing to a no increment for the 2018/19 financial year,” Haingura said.

As a result, he said both parties agreed in principles that there will be no salary increment for the 2018/19 financial year.

However, he said both parties continued to engage for the two remaining financial year which is the 2019/20 and 2020/21.

He said during the third meeting held on the 5th of December last year, the unions were expecting government to present its counter offer on the two remaining financial years, however, it turns out that government negotiation team did not obtain further mandate to negotiate.

“This was very unfair to the unions and tantamount to negotiating in bad faith,” he said.
He said during the fourth sitting on the 8th of April this year, government could still not provide the unions with any counter offer.

This, he said despite the fact that the unions have restructured its proposal, considering various factors as presented by government.

“As a result, a deadlock was reached. An internal dispute was declared with the Office of the Prime Minister on the 12th April 2019 as provided for in the two unions recognition agreements,” he explained.
He said both parties met again on the 5th of June this year but the government position remains unchanged.

 


Kuzeeko Tjitemisa
2019-07-04 08:49:56 2 months ago

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