NBC strike ends

02 October 2018 | Labour

The Namibia Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) strike that started last Friday ended yesterday afternoon, but not without a fight being put up by disgruntled staff.

They had initially refused to enter the broadcaster's premises to be informed about what the ultimate agreement contained.

The workers had demanded a 6% salary hike and backdated pay.

The striking workers were enraged when President Hage Geingob appeared live on all of NBC's platforms during his opening speech at the opening of yesterday's five-day second national land conference.

The workers said last week if an agreement was not reached, this would result in the conference not being broadcasted on its platforms.

It is alleged by workers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, that broadcasting equipment had been taken from the NBC premises in the northern industrial area, and was driven “in the dark of the night” to the land conference venue. This, they said, was not supposed to happen.

Information deputy minister, Engel Nawatiseb, told striking workers that finance minister Calle Schlettwein was ordered the release of money that would end the strike. In an attempt to appease the workers, Namibia Public Workers Union (Napwu) secretary-general Petrus Nevonga tried to get them to talk to them about the agreement inside the premises.

“We have remedied the situation; that matter is being addressed. We are now going to tell you the outcomes of the agreement,” said Nevonga, as NBC workers shouted: “Tell us now, tell us now!”

The staff wanted to be addressed at the gate. Nevonga then said: “Don't worry, don't worry.”

Nevonga told journalists he would proceed to sign the agreement in the best interests of the workers.

The staff said there were numerous internal issues that were not being addressed, such as staff contracts. NBC director-general Stanley Similo said he was pleased with the agreement and the focus should now be on the future.

“We are not regressing. We have just signed a great, great, great deal. The agreement is based on the 6%,” he said. According to him, further strikes would only be averted if the NBC's funding model was changed.

The clinching of the deal brings to end a protracted period of negotiations that started in April 2017.

OGONE TLHAGE

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