Nampa staff plan salary strike

21 November 2019 | Government

Namibia Press Agency (Nampa) staff members have threatened to go on strike if their demands for a salary increase are not met.

A staff member speaking to Namibian Sun off the record said industrial action might be the next step.

“We have reached deadlock as far as negotiations are concerned; the go-ahead for further negotiations has not been given.

We believe our concerns are not being heard. Our budget from treasury was cut [in the past] but we still got our increases,” the source said.

Nampa's budget has been cut as part of government's austerity programme. For the current fiscal year, the agency received N$15 million.

The source also questioned why Nampa staff members were not given any salary increases this year but the other state media entity, the Namibia Broadcasting Corporation, could give its employees salary increases.

The source also reasoned that the agency could use internal savings generated when staff members resigned or retired to pay for the requested salary hike.

“Some freed-up funds can also be used; based on the employees that left, there should be funds.

The CEO left, we lost a sub-editor, we lost two colleagues at our bureaus, and they have not been replaced.”

Salary hike will lead to job losses

Nampa board chairperson Rector Mutelo, speaking from Malaysia, dismissed the claim that negotiations had failed and said there would be another meeting to discuss the way forward.

“From where I sit, I do not think negotiations failed because there are still negotiations.

We are waiting for the outcome,” he said.

Mutelo also said given the state of the economy, it would be unrealistic for Nampa to fund any salary hike from its resources. “Nampa is not in a position to afford any salary increments.”

According to him, Nampa had dipped into its savings of approximately N$22 million to fund deficits it had incurred as a consequence of government budget cuts.

“We were funding the deficits from our own resources; that investment is gone, that is where we are,” he said.

Mutelo said if the staff insisted on striking, there would be consequences as the agency would be forced to retrench to fund any salary hike.

“There are two options. If we give the increment, if we are irresponsible, we will have to retrench. We cannot do that, that would be irresponsible,” he said.

Mutelo also said Nampa's business model was not that of a commercial media company.

“How much did our marketing department make? They are struggling,” he said.

“From the content generated, how much is used? You cannot make money with the number of subscribers we have; you will not be able to make a profit. Nampa is not in that space, we are not a profit-making organisation,” he reasoned.

Giving an indication of the board's intention not to grant any salary hikes, Mutelo added: “We can keep the shop open with what we have, but no increments.”

The Nampa strike is planned for 25 November.


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