NBC strike set for today

22 April 2021 | Labour



Employees of the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation will commence with a strike today and maintain that the corporation negotiated in bad faith and unfairly paid bonuses to several managers.

Employees are demanding a 5.1% salary hike and backpay.

The acting chairperson of the representative committee of the NBC workers' union, Johanes Lengi, said various unsuccessful attempts had been made to avert a strike.

“On Thursday we will strike. We signed the rules on Monday and the notice is already out,” he said earlier this week.

The ministry of labour and the NBC had been informed of the pending strike, Lengi said.

Lengi accused NBC director-general (DG) Stanley Similo of not engaging the broadcaster's employees on concerns raised.

“The problem with the DG is we were not engaged … he uses the media. If he wanted a solution, it's not only through the media. The DG never said let's sit around the table. If he thinks we are part and parcel of NBC, we would have sat around the table,” Lengi said.

Bad faith

According to Lengi, employees also questioned why NBC's management had negotiated with employees only to dismiss the decisions made at the meetings.

“Why did they allow people to sit at the negotiating table if they were not mandated,” Lengi said.

Lengi added that management bonuses paid last year and the acquisition of a motor vehicle for the DG showed the opposite of what was said about the corporation's financial constraints.

“They gave themselves those bonuses and bought luxury vehicles. How can you say these things if you give bonuses and go to the extent of buying the DG a luxury car?” he asked.

NBC board chairperson Lazarus Jacobs in February warned that the employees' demands were unjustifiable and that it would place the broadcaster at financial risk.

“There is absolutely no way that the board would put the NBC in financial difficulty and by doing so run the risk of the NBC defaulting on its creditors and statutory payments,” Jacobs said.

“It is therefore the view of the board that any salary increase at this stage is not viable and sustainable.”