Napwu accuses NBC of ‘underhand agenda’

29 June 2021 | Labour

OGONE TLHAGE



WINDHOEK

The Namibia Public Workers Union (Napwu) has accused NBC director general Stanley Similo of instigating the broadcaster’s employees to resign from the union.

Similo recently informed the union that it lost its status as a representative of the majority of NBC workers it had represented for decades, and that it must rectify this by September or risk losing its bargaining power at the broadcaster.

Napwu secretary-general Peter Nevonga, in a letter dated 23 June, fired back at Similo, accusing him of instigating workers to leave the union “for purposes only known to yourself”.

Nevonga charged that Similo’s notification violated the terms of the bargaining agreement, which required NBC to produce evidence of concerned staff members having formally asked the company’s human resources department to stop monthly union membership deductions.

“Given NBC being in the know of the above clause but deliberately choosing not to adhere to the same, it is Napwu’s conclusion and belief that your office appears to have an underhand agenda against Napwu…” Nevonga wrote.

Napwu led a failed strike at NBC recently, with its members demanding a myriad of benefits, including an 8% salary increment.

NBC refused to budge to the demands and employees started returning to work in small numbers until the strike lost its steam.

Employees turned their fury towards Napwu and many started leaving the Swapo-affiliated union for its rival Public Service Union of Namibia (PSUN), which is now waiting in the wings to take over the bargaining power.

Underground battles

Some members of the NBC board have alleged that there were underground political battles at play to break the backbone of Swapo-affiliated unions.

“Their whole agenda is to get Napwu to lose their mandate as a sole bargaining unit. That’s their way of breaking Swapo-affiliated unions. It was never really about the money,” a source said last month.

Nevonga refused to recognise Similo’s letter.

“Napwu regards your letter of notice as of no force, but rather an intentionally misplaced communication for the purpose only known by yourself and or your office, since it does not comply with the basic requirements of such a notice,” he said.

NBC faces serious financial challenges this year due to its budget allocation of N$127.5 million, which represents a 62% reduction of the N$334.1 million received the previous year.

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