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Sunday 19 May 2019
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Parastatal employees lose faith in NAPWU

Most Namibia Wildlife Resort (NWR) employees have lost all faith in trade union NAPWU, alleging the union is zig-zagging on the interest of the workers and is in bed with their oppressive employer.
These allegations come after 98% of employees last year voted in favour of downing tools when negotiations between the two parties reached deadlock, but have since been given the green light to strike by the union.
Employees have accused NAPWU of being tight-lipped on the matter, stating this has subsequently caused confusion among  workers resulting in members expressing their desire to abandon the union.
In contrast, the union last year assured The Patriot, that without doubt a strike at the tourism parastatal was inevitable, and this was whether or not NWR procrastinates on the striking rules.
“Just when we thought NAPWU was on our side, it has started playing tricks on us. They are no longer saying a thing after we made it clear that we want to strike. We are getting the feeling that they have taken sides with the employers and so they have lost interest in ” said an employee who preferred anonymity.
What The Patriot has gathered from the employees is that the two parties last month agreed on the strike rules and a green light was given for a strike on the 27th December 2018. According to a source, the employees did not take this well, citing that it was an unrealistic date taking into consideration that it is the time of the year when half, if not most of the administration at NWR is out of the office.
“What type of union agrees to have workers strike when management is on holiday? And since that failed, all we are being told is that there are a few technicalities that need to be agreed upon, but there is no way forward. Last they said we were going to down tools whether NWR agrees or not, but now they are dilly-dallying” said another employee who added that most employees are now plotting to leave the union.
When put to the NAPWU head of operations, Tomas responded that the matter is at this stage not ripe for media consumption. According to him,there were bottlenecks relating to laws that have to be reconciled in the interest of both parties.
“When you reach a deadlock and you are now supposed to withdraw the labour, there is a process in-between that you need to deal with, which are the rules of the process. In as much as it looks simple, the Labour Act recognises that there are rules to that process. Unfortunately, the parties have reached a deadlock with regards to the process and we are busy dealing with the conciliator process” he said. (sic)
According to presentations done by NWR last year, the parastatal made N$14,652,662 in operations in 2017, jumping from a loss making position since 2013. The parastatal’s revenue has also seen an increase from N$325 million in 2016 to N$350 million in 2017.
Two days later NWR were reported to be in dire straits.
NWR has been clear from the onset that it would not succumb to pressure from employees for salary demands, advising them to strike freely if they wish to do so.
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.
Tomas, who claimed to be well-versed on the developments on the matter, says NAPWU stands with the employees and their demands at all times.
Tomas said they have called for a caucus with the employees’ representative to clarify the matter. Amongst the bottlenecks is the issue of differently-employed employees’ status which he says is one wrinkle they need to iron out.
“NAPWU will not be in the business to work against itself by not articulating the needs of its members accordingly. We are used to this statement but that will not happen. We will explain to the right people. There will be no loss of trust in NAPWU” he said.
Meanwhile staff members at the University of Namibia, said they too feel they do not want to be part of NAPWU any longer as the union has not been representing them in their best interest especially during the recent 6% increase demands.
Some of the affected employees told The Patriot that they no longer want to be part of the union, because of the way the matter at UNAM was handled. UNAM employees’ salaries had the totality of their strike days deducted in January, despite an agreement which stated that these days regarded as unpaid leave will be deducted over a few months.
“We also expected the agreed to 6% increase in January, only to find out after that, that there was no date for the increase to take effect” a vexed employee said.
Namibia Public Workers Union Deputy Secretary Gabes Andumba said that they had several meetings with their members and that they informed them about the agreement.
Andumba also said that they agreed with UNAM that the striking employees will have their days deducted over a period of five months and if there is any other deduction arrangement, he “knows nothing about it.”




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