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Iipumbu accuses NAFINU of misleading workers

AgriBank CEO, Leonard Iipumbu finds himself in the firing line over salary increments.Operations at the Agricultural Bank of Namibia, Agribank came to a standstill this week when workers went on strike. The strike came after employees refused to accept a 6% increase approved by the board of directors and an additional demand of 100% medical aid contribution by the Bank.
According to a statement issued by the Bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Leonard Ipumbu, the bank’s management and the union never agreed on a 12% increase. The Agribank management negotiation committee and the Agribank shop stewards negotiated on salary increment as per usual procedure. Management informed the shop stewards by letter dated 26 April 2012 that it would make a recommendation to the board for approval of a salary increase of 12%, which would be made up of 8 % for inflation and 4% based on individual performance. The staff refused to accept an increase that is linked to individual performance because they allege that the bank’s performance system is not fully implemented.
Iipumbu accused the Namibia Financial Institutions Union of giving a wrong impression to the workers and misleading them.“NAFINU’s allegations of management agreeing to the 12% inflation salary increase gives a wrong impression and is misleading. [Only] the Board of Directors has the mandate to approve the increment, a fact which is known by NAFINU”. Workers held a peaceful demonstration last month demanding a salary increment and also expressed concern that the bank did not want to agree to the agreed increment yet they had plans to purchase new furniture for the Agribank building. Iipumbu defended the bank and said the bank prepared an expression of interest with the assistance if its appointed architects, Barnard Mutua Architects. The expression of interest was advertised in the daily newspapers and forty tenders were received. Barnard Mutua Architects assessed the tenders in terms of the requirements and a set of criteria. “Their findings were presented to the Agribank management with their recommendations and a decision was taken to appoint a number of companies for the procurement of various pieces of furniture based on lowest prices, best value, most superior products and the best suited product for the look and feel of the building.”
The workers also expressed concern about Human Resources Manager, Beata Kapolo and handed over a petition which contained serious allegations against the HR Manager. Kapolo is accused of not addressing human resource issues, even those brought to her attention by the workers. The bank said its management has appointed an independent person to investigate the allegations and advise the bank accordingly. Iipumbu has advised all account holders at AgriBank to pay their instalments through commercial banks and that they should use the Client Loan Account as the reference number until management has taken control of the situation.

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