PSUN throws more sand in Napwu’s food

10 September 2021 | Local News

MATHIAS HAUFIKU



WINDHOEK

After years of dominance in the public sector, the Namibian Public Workers Union (Napwu) is facing an unusual onslaught from the Public Service Union of Namibia (PSUN), which is slowly weaving its way into public entities.

This is happening at a time when debate is raging among workers and academics over the current status of Napwu and whether it is still capable to fight for members’ rights in the workplace.

Less than three months after Napwu lost its bargaining power to negotiate on behalf of the Namibia Broadcasting Corporation’s (NBC) employees, workers at the Rundu town council also followed suit, knocking the Swapo affiliate out in favour of PSUN.

NBC gave Napwu until the end of this month to prove that it is still the union of choice for employees at the beleaguered public broadcaster.

Meanwhile, CEO Olavi Nathanael last month issued a notice of termination of the bargaining agreement between Napwu and the town council.

In a letter dated 25 August, Nathanael told Napwu boss Peter Nevonga that the union no longer holds 50% plus one of employees as per the recognition agreement which gives it the power to be the sole collective bargaining representative of all employees at the town council.

As of 1 August, the union’s membership stood at 40%, the CEO said.

“The union is hereby requested to prove representation of 50% plus one membership on or before 24 November. Failure of which the recognition agreement will be terminated,” he wrote.

Nevonga did not respond to questions sent to him on Wednesday.

Ended in chaos

Regarding the NBC saga, Nevonga had told Namibian Sun in June that it would be possible for Napwu to regain its bargaining power.

"It is possible. These are issues that form part of our operations. We will have it rectified, but I may not mention how we will do it," he said.

The corporation’s employees at the time staged an almost five-week-long strike in an effort to improve working conditions and get a salary hike.

A meeting between striking workers and Napwu leadership ended in chaos during that strike, with workers accusing Nevonga of not working in their interest.

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