Namdeb Strike Set for Today

A LAST-ditch attempt by the labour deputy minister Alphaumlus Muheua to avert an industrial action over a wage dispute by Namdeb workers failed on Tuesday.

The Oranjemund MUN branch secretary for information and publicity, Mathew Nangombe yesterday confirmed that last minute negotiations between the union and company, mediated by Muheua, had reached a stalemate.

“Workers are preparing to go on strike at midnight,” Namgombe told The Namibian yesterday.

He said the workers decided for strike action after salary negotiations that started in November last year between the union and the company reached a deadlock.

The union is demanding a 15% increase, while the company has offered 7,5% and 8,5% for bands A, B and C. In addition, the workers want a 14% housing allowance but the company is only offering 8,5%.

In an aertisement placed in today’s The Namibian, Namdeb said the strike will cost the company an estimated N$10 million a day.

“It is a well-known fact that a strike by its very nature is harmful to all concerned – employees, the employer, state treasury and communities. It is a lose-lose situation,” the company said.

Namdeb said it remains committed to paying its employees a “competitive wage”.

Namdeb said the other key point of the current wage dispute is the contribution of employees to the Namdeb medical aid.

The workers are demanding that the company’s contributions for the medical aid be increased from 40% to 80% or 100%.

Namdeb management recognises, according to the aertisement, that the current scheme impact all three parties, and have asked the MUN to allow for a 12-month period, to give experts on the matter time to come up with alternatives.

However, this was rejected by MUN, said Namdeb.

Besides the housing allowance, the workers are also demanding the company to subsidise 85% of their children’s school fees.

Source : The Namibian