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No money for increments – TransNamib

Left to right: Senior Shop Steward, Alois Katjito and Namibian Transport and Allied Workers Union, General Secretary John Kwedhi. (Photograph by Yvonne Amukwaya)

Left to right: Senior Shop Steward, Alois Katjito and Namibian Transport and Allied Workers Union, General Secretary John Kwedhi. (Photograph by Yvonne Amukwaya)

TransNamib has refused to increase employee wages by 5% as laid down by the employees’ bargain agent, the Namibian Transport and Allied Workers Union which will inevitably result in a country-wide strike.
A 33% increment was proposed by the union with no initial offer from TransNamib. The union then came up with a proposed increment of 21% for C-band workers, 28% for B-band workers and 33% for A-band. But in a recently held conciliation meeting to resolve the wage increment dispute, TransNamib has refused any increase to employee wages for the year 2012/2013.
During the third round of the conciliation meeting held at the office of the Labour Commissioner, early this week, the parties failed to resolve the dispute.
According to the Senior Shop Steward, Alois Katjito, “At the conciliation meeting the Namibian Transport and Allied Workers Union attempted for a win-win solution [but] management only stuck to their single mandate of 5% on salaries, [and continued to] exclude all substantive issues.”
At the end of the meeting, the conciliator issued the parties with a certificate of an unresolved dispute.
Speaking at the press briefing later that same day, General Secretary John Kwedhi said that close to 1,300 TransNamib employees from the bargaining unit will come to strike. “We have been very patient, and the acting CEO of TransNamib has made it clear to us that they will not talk to dogs.”
According to Kwedhi, TransNamib does not have a business plan and it is up to the shareholder to rescue the parastatal, “if not, it is unfortunate because the union will not be blamed for the consequences of employee actions.”
Kwedhi claimed that although TransNamib is a public asset, the board is out to destroy the company as they do not care about the nation’s wealth and have proven it countless times. “How many times have we not attempted to make our voices heard. We have made our decision and nothing will prevent us from taking action.”
He further stressed that TransNamib, which he referred to as the engine of the economy, cannot afford another strike as it is not only TransNamib that will be affected by the strike, but other sectors in the country. According to Kwedhi, the Finance Manager from TransNamib has approached their office on 01 October, just before the meeting, claiming that TransNamib cannot afford such increments as it is already bankrupt. Even only a 5% increment will cost TransNamib an additional N$6.4 million in salaries per annum. This information was stated in a letter that Kwedhi claims was dropped by the TransNamib Finance Manager. However, the letter does not bear any stamp or official form of identification. TransNamib management could not be reached for comment.

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