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NATAU shows no patriotism

John Kwedhi, General Secretary of the Namibia Transport and Allied Workers Union.

John Kwedhi, General Secretary of the Namibia Transport and Allied Workers Union.

According to the Namibia Transport and Allied Workers Union, the state-owned enterprise, TransNamib, has declared war on their own workers. John Kwedhi, General Secretary of the Union fumed: “Quite recently this was the same case with Air Namibia and now TransNamib again.”
“Each year, TransNamib workers are supposed to receive an automatic increment of 5% but since last year 2011, no increment took place on the wage of the employees.” He said that some of the TransNamib employees get paid even less than what a security guard earns per month. “TransNamib pays its workers 35% below market requirement” he argued.
Explaining the process, Kwedhi said the Union proposed a 33% increment with no initial offer from TransNamib. The company then came up with a proposed increment of 21% on C-band workers, and 28% on B-band, while the Union proposed a 33% increase for A-band.
Workers in A-band, who are the lowest paid in the company, will get paid substantially more than what they currently receive which is rated between N$2,000 and N$2,500, if the 33% increment in that category is approved.
In July and August, the Union and the management of TransNamib held a meeting to negotiate wage increments but the board later informed the Union that there will be a 0% increment to employee wages for the financial year 2012/13.
Senior Shop Steward, Alois Katjito threatened the TransNamib management saying “they must not play with workers’ demands because the consequences will be unbearable.” He said it appears that state-owned enterprises have declared war against their own employees. “The current development in most State-Owned Enterprises of labour unrest in these companies is a clear sign that those entrusted by the shareholders to manage those entities are using the workers to get funds from the government to cover up their mess caused by mismanagement.”
Katjito said the status of TransNamib calls for worry as it has no full-time managers and most of the managers are in acting capacity. “This is a true reflection that the board of directors have no clue of leading this very important and crucial contributor to the country’s economy.”
The union furthermore added that they will not show patriotism to the board of directors and the management of TransNamib. “For how long will we practice patriotism if the other party (TransNamib) does not show patriotism?”
Workers have to fight for their rights, all that TransNamib is doing is using the workers to put pressure on the government,” said Kwedhi.
He said that TransNamib can not afford two strikes in one year since the last strike took place only six months ago and that if the government does not take action, it will collapse.
According to Kwedhi, TransNamib will only be saved by the conciliation day when the Office of the Labour Commissioner will hear the dispute between the Union and TransNamib.
Kwedhi warned that if the meeting does not produce any positive results, a strike is immanent.

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