Namibia Wildlife Resort will not succumb to pressure from employees for salary demands, advising them to strike freely if they wish to do so.
In an internal memo authored by the company’s Managing Director, Zelna Hengari informed all staff members that wage negotiations between management and the trade union NAPWU reached deadlock granting them a Certificate of Unresolved Dispute.
This means the company is faced with a possible strike with the company boss writing to all staff members informing them of the financial position of the company and wishing them well, should they decide to agree to strike.
Hengari is adamant that the company and union’s inability to reach consensus is a loss to both parties adding that they will however continue looking for an amicable situation.
According to Hengari, NWR met the employers’ union on three occasions.
The Union demands a 15% increase in basic salary, 30% increase in housing allowance and a 75% increase in transport allowance, to be applied to a greater proportion of the staff.
However, NWR seems to stand its ground on salary increases saying their mandate from stakeholders was not to allow the total salary line to be exceeded.
“We believe that we are able to generate savings from categories within the total employment cost, and so our last offer remains an increase of N$5% on total cost to company,” she said, adding that a 4.5% increase covers all allowances and salary entitlements.
Hengari also warned that the company needs to protect as many jobs as possible as retirement pay-outs can be costly to the company.
According to the memo, as of 31 October 2017, NWR owed its creditors N$330 million but only had N$53 million in debtors and bank to pay its creditors. Hengari highlighted that the parastatal’s largest expense of 43 %, goes to staff.
While Hengari on one side draws a picture of the company’s ailing finances, it contradicts another picture she drew this week during a parliamentary standing committee presentation on natural resources in which the MD portrayed the parastatal to be on top of its game.
According to the presentation, NWR made N$14,652,662 operational profit last year, jumping from a loss making position since 2013.
The parastatals revenue has also seen an increase from N$325 million in 2016 to N$350 million in the year 2017. Two days later, NWR were reported to be in dire straits.
Napwu Secretary General Petrus Nevonga this week wrote to Hengari requesting for permission to hold elections with the workers at different NWR facilities whether to go ahead or not with the strike.
The elections are scheduled to run until 30 November 2018. In a separate letter seen by The Patriot, Napwu also requested for the release of three members from duty for union activities.
“Your decision to strike or not, it remains your decision. Both parties are sacrificing in this process, whether the strike proceeds or not. But we believe in the greater good for Namibia, through the contribution NWR makes to the economy,” said Hengari.