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TransNamib workers apply brakes

2022-07-15  Maihapa Ndjavera

TransNamib workers apply brakes

Employees of the national rail service operator, TransNamib, will embark on a nationwide strike on Monday to show their frustration with contentious labour matters. 

This includes a longstanding wage dispute. In a media statement released this week, the Namibia Transport and Allied Workers Union (Natau) confirmed the industrial action, saying it will take place at various TransNamib depots.

According to national coordinator Helvi Hamukoshi, the strike will continue until amicable solutions are found on the matter in dispute. 

“There have been no positive responses from TransNamib, so the strike will continue until we get satisfactory answers for our employees. We have a certificate of unresolved dispute,” said Hamukoshi.

Responding to questions from New Era, TransNamib spokesperson Abigail Raubenheimer confirmed receiving notification from Natau regarding the upcoming industrial action. 

She said the management of the national operator has been engaging the union since last year, regarding the financial position of the company. 

“We have had long and protracted discussions about the fact that TransNamib simply cannot afford salary increments at the moment,” explained Raubenheimer.

She added that these discussions took place between the union, TransNamib management, as well as the office of the labour commissioner as the conciliation party. TransNamib also went as far as showing their books to the union to show the seriousness of the matter, but the union chose to withhold their labour.

Thus, Raubenheimer said, TransNamib is calling on the union for meaningful dialogue on the way forward that will not have a detrimental effect on the company as per the proposed action.


In March 2022, the company secured a long-term loan of N$2.6 billion from the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), in partnership with the Development Bank of Namibia (DBN), to implement its five-year business plan. The loan will be used for the remanufacturing of rolling stock, the acquisition of new rolling stock, and modernisation of the workshop and the upgrading of signalling equipment, including spares and associated equipment.

TransNamib’s integrated annual report for 2019/20 stated that the company remained in a challenging financial position, despite an improvement in its business operations. 

The two main challenges remain its short-term cash flow position, as well as limited capacity with respect to the number of locomotives serving its operations.

Furthermore, for the 2019/20 financial year, TransNamib’s revenue increased by N$20 million to N$542 million, whilst operating costs increased by N$72 million to N$885 million. 

“Due to this, a loss of N$262 million was incurred during the period. Cash lost from operations was N$74 million. These trading results resulted in the company being in a worse position, compared to the previous financial period,” reads their report.

An operating loss of N$262 million (2019: N$66 million) was thus incurred. 

This loss is at the back of a 4% (N$20 million) increase in revenue, a 74% (N$154 million) reduction in government grants, and a 9% (N$72 million) increase in operating costs. 

In a statement, TransNamib notified its customers and stakeholders that the industrial action would negatively affect its operations, inclusive of normal scheduled train services, which will subsequently affect the delivery of valuable cargo/goods for the duration of this industrial action, of which the end-date is not known.

The industrial action will start from 07h00, Monday, 18 July 2022 in the Khomas, Erongo, Omaheke, Hardap, //Kharas, Oshikoto, Oshana, Ohangwena and Otjozondjupa regions.


2022-07-15  Maihapa Ndjavera

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