Air Namibia deems NCCU strike illegal

WINDHOEK; Air Namibia says the planned strike by the Namibia Cabin Crew Union (NCCU), which is scheduled to start on Friday, is illegal.

Air Namibia corporate communications officer Oneka Sitali indicated in a media statement issued on Thursday that on the basis of the strike the matter contested is a “dispute of rights” and not a “dispute of interest”, and the union did not follow the due process prescribed by the labour laws of Namibia when it decided to strike.

The union’s president, Reginald Kock announced on Tuesday that the 140 cabin crew members they represent have voted in favour of industrial action, and that the strike will commence at 13h00 on Friday.

Sitali noted that the company moved from the Peromnes job grading system to the Patterson job grading system in 2009/10, and an elaborate process of consultations and engagements was followed to regrade all positions in the company.

She added that the union was however unhappy about the change in job grading systems and the outcome of the regrading exercise.

“They are particularly unhappy that their positions were graded in the B-band and not the C-and,” she stated, adding that the company has engaged independent human resources consultants to review the grading exercise. The review is expected to be completed by 20 June this year.

She said following intervention by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, the union was asked to delay the planned industrial action and await the outcome of this exercise, “but regrettably the union has confirmed its intention to continue with the strike”.

She further stated that it is regrettable that the union, despite all attempts by the company’s management to resolve the matter amicably, is going ahead with the strike which she said will have dire consequences for the Namibian nation, the airline and its employees.

A number of flights will still be operated, and Air Namibia has called upon their passengers and other stakeholders to stand by for further alerts and notices on which flights will be affected and those that will operate.