IN what has now become an annual event workers of the Swakopmund Municipality staged a peaceful march through the streets of the coastal town to hand a petition to the top management of the local authority in which they demand that their salaries should be increased.
During November last year the workers took the exact same action to demand that negotiations with the Namibia Public Workers Union and the Town Council commence. During February this year the increment was approved.
During the latest demonstration the workers claimed that they started early with their demand to avoid a repeat of the process of 2018. They demanded that salary negotiations for the 2019/2020 financial year must commence as soon as possible.
At the end of the march one of the workers, Maxine Bussel read the demands in the workers’ petition in the municipal parking lot and said employees have been asking the Town Council since March this year to start with the wage negotiations.
“The workers cannot wait any longer. We do not want a repeat of last year when workers only got their backdated salary at the beginning of this year.”
Bussel said employees requested meetings in terms of the recognition agreement with the Namibia Public Workers Union to engage in salary negotiations. She claimed that the Town Council seems unwilling to do so and stated that the actions of their employer is in direct violation of the constitution, the Labour Act, the recognition agreement and council’s own policies.
In their petition the workers also claimed that the report compiled by an outside consultant to assess the remuneration of municipal workers at a cost of N$345 000 is not worth the paper on which it was printed.
“This is wasteful expenditure and the Town Council acted in an unethical way when they approved the report that was marred by schoolboy mistakes.”
According to the petition the report claims that A1 Band employees get an annual salary of N$83 000, which is a blatant lie.
“We know that our colleagues in A1 Band only get an annual salary of N$64 000. According to the report the municipal wage bill is 53 percent of local authority’s total income. The same report fails to mention and is conspicuously silent on the fact that the 16 management employees take the lion’s share of that wage bill.”
The inequitable salary structure according to workers is the main bone of contention as employees at the lower and middle income structures of the municipality.
In response to the claims of the workers the Chief Executive Officer of the Swakopmund Town Council, Archie Benjamin accused the workers of not complying with the recognition agreement reached between the workers union and the management of the local authority and therefore negations will not be able to commence.
He said the employees did not appoint new Workplace Union Representative Committee member in the place of people that has not been in the employ of the municipality for quite some time.