WINDHOEK, 24 SEP – Namibia Water Corporation (NamWater) employees have threatened to stage a countrywide strike and “close taps”, if the water utility’s board of directors are not removed and salary increment demands are not met.
NamWater workers’ representative committee chairperson, Uripeke Kaaronda told Nampa on Friday that the decision to embark on a countrywide demonstration emanates from failure by NamWater’s board to respond to a petition about employee concerns handed over to them on 31 August 2018.
The employees are demanding that the water utility’s entire board of directors be investigated and removed, its chief executive officer be investigated and for appointments based on unapproved structures be nullified.
Additionally, the workers asked for a 7,63 per cent salary increment (which decreased from the original eight per cent), however, the company was only prepared to offer a 6,1 per cent increase.
The 7,63 per cent demand was made on the basic salary, housing and transport allowances and saving bonus and was supposed to have been negotiated and agreed on by April this year.
The employees gave the company’s leadership 14 working days to respond to their demands, however, no response was given by Friday last week.
“Every year has its own challenges and inflation rates differ from year to year and the living standard of every employee changes from year to year. So, that is the reason why we are demanding for salary increments every year,” Kaaronda said.
Among the concerns raised in the petition was the creation of new positions at the utility using unapproved salary structures and inconsistencies in job grading as well as lack of trust and confidence in the current board of directors.
Kaaronda said the committee would proceed with arbitration and lodge a deadlock with the labour commission in due course.
NamWater Head of Public Relations and Communication, Johannes Shigwedha told this agency on Monday “the company had adhered to the employee requests, but was waiting for the board to pronounce itself”.
He said NamWater responded to the requests made by its workers by forwarding them through the right channels.
“The process is continuing and the company will respond once we receive feedback from the relevant authorities,” Shigwedha said. – NAMPA