A strike appears imminent at the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation after the labour commissioner last week issued a certificate of non-resolution to the ongoing dispute pitting a union representing NBC workers and the national broadcaster’s management.
NBC employees are now expected to vote early this week on whether to embark on strike action or not. The Namibia Public Workers Union (Napwu) branch organizer for the central regions, Alpha Murangi, yesterday confirmed the developments, saying what was left is for the union to officially brief the affected workers on the outcome of Friday’s meeting.
“Initially, NBC offered to pay a once-off payment valued at N$7 605 000 for employees in the bargaining unit, which would mean that low paid workers, such as cleaners, will get a once off amount between N$15 000 and N$25 000. However, on Friday, they had backtracked on the agreement,” Murangi said.
“As it stands, NBC has nothing on the table, so what is left is for us to brief the employees so that they decide whether they will go on strike or not.” Efforts to get a comment from NBC executives proved futile at the weekend. NBC employees earlier this year staged a countrywide lunch protest demanding 8% salary increment, among other benefits.
NBC director general Stanley Similo earlier this year described the salary increment demand by his employees as “insensitive” considering the difficult times of the Covid-19 pandemic. Similo stated that the demands are unrealistic given the disruption caused by the virulent Covid-19, including loss of income for many Namibians.
“During these difficult economic times whereby some Namibians have become unemployed, we cannot continue to be tone-deaf and insensitive and insist on salary increases, while the main shareholder, the government has not given increases for the past four years to its own employees,” Similo was quoted as saying.