Strike Looms At Namdeb

THE prospect of Namdeb workers downing tools has increased after talks over a wage dispute between the Mine Workers Union of Namibia (MUN) and company management reached a stalemate last Friday.

MUN Namdeb branch secretary for information and publicity Mathew Nangombe said a certificate of unresolved dispute was issued last Tuesday following failed wage negotiations between the parties.

Nangombe said workers are expected to vote to decide on whether or not they would go on a strike this week.

The union is demanding a 15% wage 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 compared to the 8,5% offered by the company.

They also want the company to subsidise 85% of their children’s school fees.

The workers also want the company’s contributions for the medical aid to be increased from 20% to 80% or 100%.

According to Nangombe, the least paid Namdeb worker takes home about N$1 500 a month because the bulk of their income goes to the children’s school fees and medical contributions.

“Before independence, Namdeb fully covered school fees for its workers’ children. But after independence, with more black children enrolled at the school (Namdeb Private School), they have stopped paying, arguing that it is not an employment condition,” said Nangombe.

Namdeb public relations officer Pauline Thomas yesterday said the company will continue to engage in the wage talks to find an amicable solution.

“It is regrettable that we find ourselves in this situation,” Thomas remarked.

Thomas said the company will soon call a press conference where the media will be given an opportunity to ask questions relating to the looming strike.

Source : The Namibian