Friday 18 June 2021
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Nafinu haunts Namfisa

…as regulator and union fight over salaries

The Namibian Financial Institutions Union (Nafinu) is not letting the Namibia Financial Institutions Supervisory Authority(Namfisa) sleep peacefully, with the union remaining hell-bent after the two failed to reach common grounds over salary increments.

The union also took issue with the company’s recently implemented restructuring programme.

Nafinu’s secretary general Asnath Zamuee is adamant that Namfisa has no reason not to grant employees a 0.25% salary increment.

The union has since given Namfisa until 7 May 2018 to provide evidence of the board’s consultation with the minister of Finance; the gazzeted directive from the Minister of Public Enterprises blocking salary increases as well as evidence of the board’s consideration of its decision on the basis advanced by Nafinu for 0.25% additional increase for the bargaining unit.

Correspondences between Namfisa and Nafinu seen by The Patriot indicate that the total salary bill for the bargaining unit amounts to N$78.99 million, which represents 59% of the company’s overall salary bill which is around N$134 million.

If salaries increase by 7%, the bill will increase to N$84.51 million while a further increase of 0.25% will push it up with a further N$211 286.

“It is difficult to understand how Namfisa plans to spend N$2.5 million on outsourced services, while it is reluctant to give an increase of N$211 286 in salaries to staff,” said Zamuee in one of the letters.

Namfisa has about 176 employees, of which some 135 falls within the bargaining unit. The increase would translate into an increase of N$1531 per bargaining unit staff.

The management salary bill of Namfisa’s management, according to Zamuee, stands at N$49.2 million.

“If management also gets a 0.25% increase, the increase per management member would amount to N$3469. This would amount to 2.3 times more than what the bargaining unit members would get,” said Zamuee, who added that such an increase should be one according to the relevant laws.

“During the bargaining, Namfisa informed us that the board was to give a mandate for the negotiations. During the April 9, 2018 negotiating committee, Namfisa representatives informed us that the management deliberated on the deadlock and that the representatives did not take our request for a 0.25% increase to the board. We are perplexed by this since the representatives are also defending Nafinu’s demand that management receive a 5% salary increase.”

Nafinu accused Namfisa of using the public enterprise ministry’s salary control measures to avoid the requested additional increase.

“The reliance on the directive of the Minister of Public Enterprises is also new information that Namfisa has only now disclosed in the collective bargaining. And Namfisa has not provided any such directive to Nafinu,” she lamented.

Zamuee further accused Namfisa of being inconsistent with its dealings.

Namfisa representatives allegedly told the union on 24 April that the Minister of Finance mandated the board to restrict salary increases to the rate of inflation.

“The mandate from and the agreement of the Minister of Finance is new information that Namfisa representatives disclosed to Nafinu only on 24 April. From the inception of the negotiations in February, we have been made to believe that the board gave the mandate of its own volition, not as a consequence of a ministerial decision. We have relied on this representation until now. And Namfisa has not presented any evidence of the board’s consultation with the Minister,” she said.

Zamuee also accused Namfisa of being hostile towards the union.

“We take note of the hostile and partisan disposition of the [board]chairperson”, who had been in the negotiation room with Namfisa representatives all along.

We particularly disapprove of the Chairperson’s coercive admonishing of Nafinu representatives who gave notice of their late arrival, without enquiring and doing the same for the Namfisa representative,” said a combative Zamuee in another letter penned to Namfisa CEO Kenneth Matomola on 29 April 2018.

Zamuee continued: “The chairperson and Namfisa representatives must understand clearly that the negotiating committee does not constitute some Namfisa meeting, and that Namfisa officials, be they workplace representatives, are not there in the capacity of Namfisa employees to be subjected to its managerial practices.”

Restructuring disputes

Last month, Nafinu also wrote to the financial regulator enquiring about the impact of the company’s restructuring process of the terms of employment of the workers.

The restructuring process affected at least 15 employees.

According to Zamuee, some positions will become redundant while some employees will be transferred to other positions and the scope of work of many employees will change as a consequence.

Matomola responded by saying: “The change management involves adjustments to jobs in response to business requirements as advised earlier. There are no redundant positions as a result of this restructuring.”

With Nafinu having given Namfisa a two-week notice period to commence deliberations on the restructuring process, Matomola said the Namfisa management sees no need to open negotiations on the item because all necessary information was shared with the union.

The union also wanted Namfisa to discontinue the restructuring process.

To this Matomola responded saying: “The revised Organisational structure has been implemented effective 1 April 2018, and no employee has been adversely affected.

All affected employees have been communicated to, including to their representatives for those who exercised that choice. The organisation has not declared any redundancy.”

The Namfisa boss said changes that resulted in employees’ jobs were communicated in good faith.

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