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By: Andrew Kathindi

Namibia Public Workers Union (NAPWU) and Namibia National Teachers Union (NANTU) have called finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi to claim that civil servants were content to tighten their belts amidst ongoing civil servant increment negotiations with the unions.

The two unions are currently negotiating an increment for civil servants for the 2021/2022 financial year.

NAPWU Secretary-General Petrus Nevonga argued that Shiimi’s statements could likely pre-empt the next round of negotiations set for 29 November.

“This statement by the ministry created an impression that the two unions have consented to the government counter proposals on negotiations. Shiimi is neither a member of the negotiating committee nor was he mandated by the negotiating committee to communicate on issues relating to salary negotiations on its behalf.”

During his delivery of the midterm budget review, Shiimi extended his gratitude to the trade unions and all civil servants for “heeding our call and keeping their belts tightened. We still plead with them to maintain patience, especially in the next fiscal year, which promises to be more difficult, so we allow the economy to recover more firmly.”

Nevonga stated that the unions received a counter-offer from the government on 19 May this year, indicating that it would not grant salary increments for the current financial year due to state coffers being stretched.

The government’s counter-offer and outright refusal to offer any salary increase in the current financial year comes as the two unions sought a 10% increase across the board.

They also want a 25% increase to the qualifying amounts on housing subsidy, a 9% increase on housing allowances, a 10% increase on transport for civil servants below management and a N$7.00-kilometre tariff increase.

Quizzed on what figure the union would be satisfied with considering the government’s stance, Nevonga said, “negotiation is a process of giving and take. There are many other factors we consider when we negotiate. We only know when we get there. We prefer to take what is reasonable.”

While teachers have not had an increase since 2012, Nevonga argued that civil servants had not received any salary increment for the past three financial years.

“There were some reasons cited, but for 2021/2022, we are prepared to take what we think is accountable, taking into consideration the living conditions and the economic indicators.”

This comes as Shiimi earlier this year revealed that government spends annually N$29 billion on salaries for about 100 000 civil servants. This translates to around N$2,5 billion monthly.




Julia Heita

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