NAFAU to represent NIDA employees

20 September 2021 | Economics

PHILLEPUS UUSIKU

The Namibia Industrial Development Agency (NIDA) and the Namibia Food and Allied Workers Union (NAFAU) signed the recognition agreement on Friday. The union now has the right to represent and negotiate on behalf of NIDA employees. NAFAU was represented by their deputy general secretary Absalom Willem.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Heinrich Gaomab, chief executive officer (CEO) of NIDA said prior to NAFAU gaining the requisite 50 plus 1 percentage of members at the agency, Namibia Public Service Workers Union (NAPWU) had an upper hand in representing the workers at the time. However, NAFAU out-smarted NAPWU by obtaining the requisite majority of workers around 2010. It was only during 2012 that NAFAU was awarded exclusive right to bargain for workers at the Agency through an arbitration process at the Labour Court.

“NIDA was established through Act 16 of 2016 to spearhead industrialisation thereby adding value to our resources through beneficiation and manufacturing with the aim is to create employment opportunities and reduce poverty in the country. This is a mammoth task requiring all stakeholders to have a common vision and to pull in the same direction,” he said.

“We regard the workers representation as equal partners and believe that jointly we can achieve a lot in terms of executing our mandate while creating opportunities for our employees to grow,” Gaomab added.

“It is against this backdrop that employer and employee relations must be fostered and we are of the view that NAFAU has proven itself as necessary partner who can assist the agency during and beyond the transition phase, he pointed out.

Relationship

Signing of the recognition agreement would not have come at more opportune time than this juncture as the agency has lot to achieve. The agency has engaged the union in providing input to the formulation of the Integrated Strategic Business Plan (ISBP), a much-needed governance instrument for transparency and good governance as required by the Ministry of Public Enterprise. Working closely with the union would ensure ownership of governance instruments and ease of implementation, the CEO said.

Formalising the governance of employer and employee relationship through signing of the recognition agreement is a milestone for the agency as it will be the first ever signed recognition agreement between the union and the employer.

As a commercial public entity, NIDA is required to generate income and increase value for shareholders without expecting capitalisation from government. In the current economic environment, it is a challenging task to achieve but it is doable if parties have common vision and rally behind that vision, he concluded.

Meanwhile, NAFAU deputy secretary general Absalom Willem thanked NIDA for a smooth negotiation process. This is one of the best recognition agreements being signed, he said.