Nedbank Faces Strike After Wage Deadlock

Over 100 Nedbank branches nationwide could come to a grinding standstill next week if Namibia Financial Institutions Union (Nafinu) and Nedbank do not reach a wage agreement.

Nedbank employs hundreds of workers across Namibia.

“Wage talks have deadlocked. A certificate of non-resolution has been issued,” Nafinu’s secretary general, Asnath Zamuee stated on Wednesday.

Both parties now have until next week to resolve the wage dispute. If no agreement is reached, the financial institutions’ union has the right to mobilise its members to embark on a nationwide strike that would cripple the bank’s operations. She said members unionised with Nafinu would be consulted on wage negotiations and a ballot held on the planned strike. Nafinu that represents almost all workers in the banking industry is demanding 9 percent in salary increment but Nedbank has only offered a wage increment of 6.5 percent.

Nafinu further demands N$950 in transport allowances but the bank has offered N$800. The union also wants N$950 in rental allowances but the bank is offering nothing in this regard.

Furthermore, the union wants Nedbank to address irregularities in salaries, “favouritism” and “irregular appointments”.

“There are huge gaps in salaries between employees performing work of equal value,” stated Zamuee.

Nafinu further demanded the implementation of last year’s agreement on pension-backed home loans and the improvement of Nedbank’s medical aid.

Both these agreements were reached last year but Nedbank has not implemented any of them, she said. Additionally, Zamuee accuses Nedbank for trampling on the rights of workers and threatening Nafinu and its members with an interdict in the event of the planned strike.

“Their modus operandi is to divide the workers by engaging them individually. They have been dealing in bad faith throughout the whole process,” said Zamuee.

“The workers are not falling for their ‘divide and rule’ tactics, instead, they are united like never before,” she added. She said the union has instructed its lawyers to deal with the issue of threats.

She said commercial banks in Namibia are the most insensitive and worker unfriendly when it concerns remuneration yet they expect employees to perform optimally.

“Nedbank Namibia is no exception,” she said. She said most employees in the bargaining unit are unable to afford houses. Nedbank Namibia spokesperson, Gernot de Klerk was unavailable for comment yesterday.

Source : New Era