Do not fly Air Namibia, the crew is striking
Failure to act decisively against the Air Namibia pilots on strike last year, has now produced a serious backlash when Cabin Crew members announced this week Thursday, they are pushing ahead with a disruptive strike despite last minute efforts to resolve the crisis.
The Namibian Cabin Crew Union (NCCU) issued a notice to Air Namibia management, threatening strike action effective as of 13:00 on Friday 30 May.
The squabble arose because of a change in the grading system currently in force at the national air carrier.
The Namibian Cabin Crew Union earlier this week threw their arms in the air about plans to change the grading system. Following intervention by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, the labour union has been urged to delay the planned strike. The labour union, however, opted to push ahead with its intended plan.
According to a statement released by Air Namibia, a move from the Peromnes Job Grading system to the Patterson Job Grading System in 2009/10 and an elaborate process of consultations and engagements to regrade all positions in the company, eventually produced results undesirable to thwe cabin crew members.
The Namibian Cabin Crew Union was unhappy about the change from Peromnes and the outcome of the regrading exercise. “They are particularly unhappy that their positions were graded in the B-band and not the C-band” said Air Namibia.
Air Namibia deems this to be an illegal strike on the basis that the matter contested is a dispute of rights and not a dispute of interest, and the NCCU did not follow the due process prescribed by the labour laws of the country, the carrier said late this week.
Mrs Oneka Sitali, Corporate Communications Officer at Air Namibia has assured the Economist that not all their cabin crew are members of NCCU and that each member of NCCU has the right and choice to either vote against or for the strike.
She further stated that management has made it clear to the crew without infringing on their rights, to come forth and declare their chosen stand in this matter. Because of this, the airline’s management has received a number of crew members who are willing to work with them, giving the airline confidence to continue with business as usual with minimal disruptions, she said in response to questions posed by the Economist.
Sitali also stated that since the strike will be illegal all crew members taking part will go without pay, “but crew members are still coming forth showing willingness to work while management explores other measures to resolve the dispute at hand. She emphasised that business will continue as usual.
“Air Namibia has engaged an independent Human Resources Consultant to review the grading exercise and this work is expected to be completed by 20 June 2014 and they [Namibia Cabin Crew Union] have further undertaken to comply with whatever the outcome” the company said in its statement.
“Air Namibia finds it unfortunate that the Namibia Cabin Crew Union , despite all attempts by management to resolve this matter amicably, is persisting to proceed with the strike which will have dire consequences to the nation, the airline and its employees.”
Air Namibia called upon their passengers and related stakeholders to standby for further alerts and notices of which flights will be affected and which will operate as scheduled.