Unions drag govt to labour commissioner

04 July 2019 | Labour

The Namibia Public Workers Union (Napwu) and Namibia National Teachers Union (Nantu) have lodged a labour dispute at the Office of the Labour Commissioner, after their pleas for salary increments for public servants fell on deaf ears.

The two unions made several demands in 2018, which included 8% and 9% salary increments across-the-board for the 2018/19 and 2019/20 financial years, respectively.

They also demanded a 10% salary increment for the 2020/21 financial year.

The unions also asked for a 10% housing subsidy and allowance increment, a 12% transport allowance increment across-the-board, as well as the kilometre rate to be increased to N$6/km.

According to Nantu secretary-general Basilius Haingura two meetings took place with the government negotiating team on 14 March 2018 and 5 July 2018.

“During the deliberations the government was unable to make a counter-offer due to the 'unfavourable economic situation' which is prevailing in the country. The unions critically considered government's position and it was on this basis that the unions gave government breathing space by agreeing to no increment for the 2018/19 financial year,” he said.

As a result, the unions pinned their hopes on government being forthcoming in terms of the subsequent financial years, Haingura said, adding that by April this year they were still left empty-handed.

This prompted the two unions to declare an internal dispute with the Office of the Prime Minister on 12 April 2019

“There was an understanding that the parties would resolve the matter within 30 days, as provided for in the recognition agreement between the unions and the government. Unfortunately that was not the case and the 30 days lapsed on 13 May 2019,” he said.

Asked whether civil servants can expect an increment this year, Basilius responded: “The dispute is with the labour commissioner; let us see what happens during the mediation period.”



JEMIMA BEUKES