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Kelvin Chiringa

The Namibia Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) has been dealt a blow in a court case against the Namibia Public Workers Union (NAPWU), in which it has been restrained from making unilateral revisions of staff leave days.

The court order adds more wind into the sails of NAPWU, which is equally fighting the broadcaster at the labour court.

The union maintains that it still has bargaining power and thus wants to continue representing the workers there as the only recognized union.

By the latest court order, NBC has also been interdicted and restrained from further steps relating to its unilateral discontinuation of salary notch increases.

The matter has been a subject of discomfort for NBC workers who continue to lick their wounds after suffering a major defeat in strike action.

They failed to arm-twist the NBC board and government into an agreement to increase their salaries.

But the broadcaster has been accused of hostility towards the union ever since the end of the strike at the back of reports that key striker leaders were being victimized.

NBC is on record denying this.

Lengi Johannes, a unionist from NAPWU, has said the court order is welcome.

“We are really happy, at least with the court order. If you look at our members who are entitled to receive the notch increases, they were not happy when the NBC came up with this thing of changing the policy without their consent.

“As you are aware that when an employee is employed, you are given a contract of employment which says your scale starts from here and it ends there given the specific job category where you find yourself. For an employer now to take a decision and say because of the financial status we are changing the policy, it was not a good thing, and members were crying,” he said.

NBC has on different occasions stated that NAPWU had lost its recognition agreement, but this matter has now been taken to the labour commissioner.

“We came to realize that what NBC was claiming was not true. In September, we asked the payroll to give us the deduction list. We came to realize that we still have 54+ members. Their notice which they gave us for three months that we should start a recruitment campaign, wasn’t holding any water.

“That’s when NBC came back to us and said no, they were not using the September list but the October while the October salary was not even yet paid. We took it up with our lawyer, and this issue is now before the labour commissioner,” he said.

He said the labour case has now been set for the 25th of January for hearing.

Lengi has said that the court order comes in time to improve the relationship between the union and the workers who were already expressing their disillusionment after the strike’s failure.

Some were calling for a snub of the union.



Kelvin Chiringa

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